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Compton vs. Raman vs. Thomson Scattering

  1. Sep 16, 2009 #1
    I'm reviewing my scattering processes and can't quite pin down the difference between raman and compton...
    It sounds like Compton scattering is exactly the same as Raman scattering (with inverse-compton = raman stokes scattering; and normal compton = raman anti-stokes scattering).

    Also, just wanted to confirm, Thomson scattering is elastic while compton/raman is inelastic?

  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 17, 2009 #2


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    Both Thomson and Raman are quasi-nonrelativistic cases of Compton.

    You can think of Thomson as a particular photon energy range: Ry << Eγ << mec2. Eγ >> Ry allows you to neglect the electron binding energy to the atom. Eγ << mec2 allows you to neglect relativistic (pair creation) effects.

    You can think of Raman as more of a phenomenological case in which I believe that Eγ < ~Ry. But I'm not so familiar with Raman (other than the fact that it is a grad students diet).
  4. Sep 17, 2009 #3
    Hi lzkelley
    Raman scattering is the inelastic scattering of a photon on a bound electron, with the electron being excited to a higher bound state. Thomson and Compton scattering both are based on inelastic scattering of photons on free (unbound) electrons.
    Bob S
  5. Sep 17, 2009 #4
    Turin and Bob S; thank you both--you're responses have been very helpful!
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