Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Compton scattering question

  1. Apr 11, 2010 #1
    Why is it that the formula for compton scattering does not include the binding energy for an electron to the nucleus? Seems like the scattered electron can have a continuous range of energies from 0 to h/mc. Why isnt this quantized?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 11, 2010 #2
    because in the formula one assumes that the electron is free, i.e. binding energy = 0.
  4. Apr 11, 2010 #3


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Note that with the Compton effect we are using X-ray photons (energy = several 10's of keV) or gamma-ray photons (100's of keV), whereas the original binding energies of the electrons are a few eV. So it's a good approximation to consider the electrons as "free."
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook