Questions tagged [scattering]

Scattering is a general term for several physical processes in which radiation of some sort changes direction due to an interaction with a particle. Scattering can be classified by the type of radiation (ie, electromagnetic, x-ray, neutron), or by the relative sizes of the wave and the particle (ie, Rayleigh, Mie, geometric).

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Scattering of light by light: experimental status

Scattering of light by light does not occur in the solutions of Maxwell's equations (since they are linear and EM waves obey superposition), but it is a prediction of QED (the most significant Feynman ...
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Why does the sky change color? Why is the sky blue during the day, red during sunrise/set and black during the night?

Why does the sky change color? Why is the sky blue during the day, red during sunrise/set and black during the night?
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Why can't we see gases?

I am not sure what causes gas molecules to be invisible.This question may look silly but I really want to know the story behind it.
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Tree level QFT and classical fields/particles

It is well known that scattering cross-sections computed at tree level correspond to cross-sections in the classical theory. For example the tree level cross-section for electron-electron scattering ...
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Why does the moon sometimes appear giant and a orange red color near the horizon?

I've read various ideas about why the moon looks larger on the horizon. The most reasonable one in my opinion is that it is due to how our brain calculates (perceives) distance, with objects high ...
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Phase shifts in scattering theory

I have been studying scattering theory in Sakurai's quantum mechanics. The phase shift in scattering theory has been a major conceptual and computational stumbling block for me. How (if at all) does ...
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Why aren't rainbows blurred-out into nothing after they are produced?

I understand how a prism works and how a single raindrop can scatter white light into a rainbow, but it seems to me that in normal atmospheric conditions, we should not be able to see rainbows. When ...
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How did Rutherford conclude that most of the mass (as well as the positive charge) was concentrated in the nucleus?

Geiger and Marsden's experiment led Rutherford to believe that the positive charge and most of the mass of the atom was concentrated in a small region. I understand what led him to conclude the way ...
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Why can we treat quantum scattering problems as time-independent?

From what I remember in my undergraduate quantum mechanics class, we treated scattering of non-relativistic particles from a static potential like this: Solve the time-independent Schrodinger ...
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Covariant Description of Light Scattering at a fastly rotating Cylinder

Let us consider the following Gedankenexperiment: A cylinder rotates symmetric around the $z$ axis with angular velocity $\Omega$ and a plane wave with $\mathbf{E}\text{, }\mathbf{B} \propto e^{\...
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What is the physical interpretation of the S-matrix in QFT?

A few closely related questions regarding the physical interpretation of the S-matrix in QFT: I am interested in both heuristic and mathematically precise answers. Given a quantum field theory when ...
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Scattering, Perturbation and asymptotic states in LSZ reduction formula

I was following Schwarz's book on quantum field theory. There he defines the asymptotic momentum eigenstates $|i\rangle\equiv |k_1 k_2\rangle$ and $|f\rangle\equiv |k_3 k_4\rangle$ in the S-matrix ...
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Locality in the scattering amplitude

Early in this talk by Nima Arkani-Hamed, he describes what locality means for scattering amplitudes. "Locality tells you that the only poles in the scattering amplitude occur when the sum of a subset ...
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Neutron discovery, why it couldn't be gamma ray? or other photon?

During the discovery of the neutron by J. Chadwick it was observed that something is emitted from beryllium when bombarded by alpha particles that could knock out protons with 5.7 MeV from a paraffin ...
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Does the exact string theory $S$-matrix describe all physics there is?

Suppose someone manages to evaluate the string theory $S$-matrix to all orders for any and all vertex operator insertions including non-perturbative contributions from world-sheet instantons and re-...
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Why can't I see the blue color scattered by the lower atmosphere of the earth?

I understand that the blue colour of the sky is because of the scattering of blue light by molecules in earth's atmosphere. The scattering appears to be happening from molecules that are far above in ...
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What exactly is a bound state and why does it have negative energy?

Could you give me an idea of what bound states mean and what is their importance in quantum-mechanics problems with a potential (e.g. a potential described by a delta function)? Why, when a stable ...
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When we define the S-matrix, what are “in” and “out” states?

I have seen the scattering matrix defined using initial ("in") and final ("out") eigenstates of the free hamiltonian, with $$\left| \vec{p}_1 \cdots \vec{p}_n \; \text{out} \right\rangle = S^{-1} \...
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Why is it necessary for an object to have a bigger size than the wavelength of light in order for us to see it?

I keep hearing this rule that an object must have a bigger size than the wavelength of light in order for us to see it, and though I don't have any professional relationship with physics, I want to ...
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1answer
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Why is sky on Mars red?

There are some great explanations on StackExchange of why we see a blue sky on Earth, eg here. Namely, that it's a combination of : (a). the mix of colours from the Sun (eg, more green than indigo), ...
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Why Cronin Effect Happens?

I'm looking for explanation on Cronin effect but unfortunately there's no Wikipedia entry or self-contained paper to start from. The statement of this effect is that: "At leading order, multiple ...
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Is the converse of Weinberg's statement on the cluster decomposition principle true?

In Weinberg's "The Quantum Theory of Fields, Vol. 1", Section 4.4, page 182, the author says: We now ask, what sort of Hamiltonian will yield an $S$-matrix that satisfies the cluster decomposition ...
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Only sea water appears blue in color, why this is not happening in river water?

Is the salt in the water the reason for scattering sunlight into blue?
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Green's function in path integral approach (QFT)

After having studied canonical quantization and feeling (relatively) comfortable with it, I have now been studying the path integral approach. But I don't feel entirely comfortable with. I have the ...
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Center-of-mass frame for massless particles

Given a scattering event where a photon and electron go in and a photon and electron come out, what is the center of mass frame? I'd say, since the photon has no mass, it's the rest frame of the ...
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Systematic way to draw all inequivalent Feynman diagrams

I am wondering whether there is some systematical approach to find Feynman diagrams for S-matrix (or to be more precise for $S-1$ since I am interested in scattering amplitude). For example in $\phi^3$...
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Is the total cross section a Lorentz Invariant?

In Peskin and Schroeder's book (P&S), on the botton of page 106, the authors say that the total cross section transforms as its only non-invariant factor, namely: $$ {1 \over E_{A} E_{B} |v_A - ...
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Explicitly verifying a scattering theory identity

I have recently studied scattering theory on a formal level and I think I understand the subject quite well by now. However what I often struggle with is to translate the abstract identities into ...
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Why can the Euler beta function be interpreted as a scattering amplitude?

The Wikipedia article on the Veneziano Amplitude claims that the Euler beta function can be interpretted as a scattering amplitude. Why is this? In another word, when the Euler beta function is ...
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What is the capture cross-section of a black hole region for ultra-relativistic particles?

What is the capture cross-section of a black hole region for ultra-relativistic particles? I have read that it is $$\sigma ~=~ \frac{27}{4}\pi R^{2}_{s}$$ for a Schwarzschild BH in the geometric ...
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Is forward scattering = no scattering?

What is forward scattering? If it is equivalent to no scattering, then why not call it "no scattering"?
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Use my example to explain why loop diagram will not occur in classical equation of motion?

We always say that tree levels are classical but loop diagrams are quantum. Let's talk about a concrete example: $$\mathcal{L}=\partial_a \phi\partial^a \phi-\frac{g}{4}\phi^4+\phi J$$ where $J$ is ...
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Proof of Yang's theorem

Yang's theorem states that a massive spin-1 particle cannot decay into a pair of identical massless spin-1 particles. The proof starts by going to the rest frame of the decaying particle, and relies ...
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What's the “effective potential” for photons in $X$-ray diffraction?

The slickest way to introduce $X$-ray diffraction is to invoke scattering theory in quantum mechanics. One treats the incoming photon as just another particle in a scattering problem; by Fermi's ...
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What is the difference between Raman scattering and fluorescence?

What is the difference between Raman scattering and fluorescence? Both phenomena involve the emission of photons shifted in frequency relative to the incident light, because of some energetic ...
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Are all scattering states un-normalizable?

I am an undergraduate studying quantum physics with the book of Griffiths. in 1-D problems, it said a free particle has un-normalizable states but normalizable states can be obtained by sum up the ...
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Calculation of the cross section

Why, when we calculate the total cross section, we make the average other initial states and the sum over final states?
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Scattering states of Hydrogen atom in non-relativistic perturbation theory

In doing second order time-independent perturbation theory in non-relativistic quantum mechanics one has to calculate the overlap between states $$E^{(2)}_n ~=~ \sum_{m \neq n}\frac{|\langle m | H' |...
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1answer
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Feshbach resonance in simple terms

I was reading up Feshbach resonances in cold atoms and I was unable to grasp the concept. I will tell you what I have understood. We consider two body scattering processes elastic as well as inelastic....
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1answer
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Setting of renormalization scale in field theory calculations

In dimensional regularization an arbitrary mass parameter $\mu$ must be introduced in going to $4-\epsilon$ dimensions. I am trying to understand to what extent this parameter can be eliminated from ...
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Why aren’t sunsets red when viewed from low earth orbit?

So “Why are sunsets red?” seems to be a pretty common question and it has to do with Rayleigh scattering in the atmosphere. I’m following some game dev tutorials (example implementation) on how to ...
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1answer
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Why do some sunsets have a green flash?

Some sunsets exhibit a phenomenon called "green flash," where there is a quick flash of green light right as the sun is setting. I have seen this myself several times, and sort of understand it. I am ...
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Does electron-electron scattering contribute to resistivity?

Electron-phonon and electron-defect scattering clearly contributes to resistance, but pure electron-electron scattering conserves the total momentum (and energy) of all the electrons. Then, how is it ...
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1answer
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Eikonal approximation in QFT

Does the eikonal approximation for calculating a scattering amplitude in QFT provide the exact result in the limit of $s\rightarrow\infty$ at finite $t=0$ ($s$ and $t$ are the usual Mandelstam ...
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Why is the sky of the moon always dark?

Why is the sky of the moon always dark compared to the sky of the earth, doesn't it have day and night like earth?
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2answers
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Scattering vs bound states

Why are these states called as such, and how do they differ? I vaguely understand that when $E > 0$ you obtain a scattering state, but when $E < 0$ you have a bound state.
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Optical theorem and conservation of particle current

The optical theorem $$ \sigma_{tot} = \frac{4\pi}{k} \text{Im}(f(0)) $$ links the total cross section with the imaginary part of the scattering amplitude. My lecture notes say that this is a ...
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Different kinds of S-matrices?

It seems to me that the notion of an "S-matrix" refers to several different objects One construction you can find in the literature is allowing the coupling constant to adiabatically approach 0 in ...
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Why don't high-energy experimentalists ever include Faddeev-Popov ghosts in their Feynman diagrams?

To correctly calculate scattering amplitudes in nonabelian gauge theory, one must include Feynman diagrams with internal Faddeev-Popov ghosts (fictitious fermionic scalars that only appear internally ...
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Infinite and Finite Square Wells

For the infinite square well in the first region, outside the well: $$\frac{-\hbar^2}{2m}\frac{d^2 \psi}{dx^2} + V(x) \psi (x) = E \psi (x),$$ where you set $V = 0$. Rearranging gives $$\frac{d^2 \...

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