# Basic Question about Thomson and Compton Scattering

• atarr3
However, inelastic scattering occurs in real-life situations and the frequency of the reradiated photon can be different from the incident photon.In summary, Thomson scattering is an example of elastic scattering where the incident photon transfers all of its energy to an electron and is re-emitted at the same frequency. This occurs between the photon and all electrons in the matter. Compton scattering is an example of inelastic scattering where the incident photon transfers some of its energy to an electron and the rest is re-emitted at a lower frequency. To derive the Compton Effect, an elastic interaction between the photon and electron is assumed, but in real-life situations, inelastic scattering can occur resulting in a different frequency for the reradiated photon.
atarr3
Ok so I am doing a project on the derivation of the Compton Effect, and I would like to briefly discuss Thomson scattering, but I'm having a little trouble understanding what happens in Thomson scattering.

This is what I think I understand so far:
When a photon enters matter and interacts with electrons, the electron will be accelerated due to the magnetic and electric field of the photon. The electron will, in turn, emit radiation at the same frequency as the photon. So is this elastic scattering? And is this an interaction between the photon and ALL the electrons in the matter?

I'm also a little confused about Compton scattering. I've read that it is an example of inelastic scattering, but I know that in order to derive the Compton Effect I need to assume an elastic interaction between the photon and electron. Does inelastic scattering just mean that the frequency of the incident photon and the reradiated photon are different?

Yes, Thomson scattering is an example of elastic scattering. This is when a photon interacts with an electron and the energy of the photon is completely transferred to the electron and re-emitted in the same frequency as the incident photon. This means that the electron does not gain or lose energy during the interaction. The interaction occurs between the photon and all the electrons in the matter, not just a single electron. Compton scattering is an example of inelastic scattering. In this instance, the photon interacts with the electron but some of its energy is transferred to the electron and the rest is re-emitted at a lower frequency than the original photon. This means that the electron has gained energy during the interaction. To derive the Compton Effect, you need to assume an elastic interaction between the photon and electron, meaning that the photon's energy is completely transferred to the electron and re-emitted at the same frequency.

## 1. What is Thomson scattering?

Thomson scattering, also known as classical or non-relativistic scattering, is the elastic scattering of electromagnetic radiation by a free charged particle, such as an electron. It is described by classical electrodynamics and does not take into account the effects of relativity.

## 2. What is Compton scattering?

Compton scattering, also known as inelastic scattering, is the scattering of a photon by a free charged particle, such as an electron. It takes into account the effects of relativity and results in a decrease in the energy and increase in the wavelength of the scattered photon.

## 3. What is the difference between Thomson and Compton scattering?

The main difference between Thomson and Compton scattering is that Thomson scattering is an elastic process, where the energy and wavelength of the scattered photon remain unchanged. Compton scattering, on the other hand, is an inelastic process where the scattered photon undergoes a change in energy and wavelength.

## 4. How are Thomson and Compton scattering used in science?

Thomson and Compton scattering are both important processes in the study of electromagnetic radiation. They are used in various fields of science, including astrophysics, nuclear physics, and medical imaging, to understand the behavior of photons and charged particles.

## 5. What is the significance of Thomson and Compton scattering in the field of quantum mechanics?

Thomson and Compton scattering played a crucial role in the development of quantum mechanics. The results of these scattering processes were not explained by classical physics and led to the development of quantum theories to understand the behavior of particles at the atomic and subatomic level.

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