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How an electron can re-radiate an electromagnetic wave

  1. May 3, 2009 #1
    Can someone explain to me how an electron can re-radiate an electromagnetic wave in a certain direction after being under the effect of the incident electromagnectic wave?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 3, 2009 #2
    Re: Reflection

    Look up Compton scattering of photons on free electrons. The cross section at low energies is about 2/3 barn. See
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compton_scattering

    [Edit] Laser (visible) photons can be scattered off of a relativistic beam of electrons and create VERY high energy photons.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2009
  4. May 3, 2009 #3

    Vanadium 50

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    Re: Reflection

    Compton scattering is not reflection.

    It is easiest to see reflection as a property of bulk electrons (for instance, as in a metal) rather than single ones.
     
  5. May 3, 2009 #4
    Re: Reflection

    This original statement/question:

    "Can someone explain to me how an electron can re-radiate an electromagnetic wave in a certain direction after being under the effect of the incident electromagnectic wave?"

    refers to "an electron" and "re-radiating" rather than "bulk electrons" and "reflecting". But it could also refer to bound atomic electrons and Rayleigh scattering as well as Compton scattering.
     
  6. May 3, 2009 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    Re: Reflection

    The title says "reflection", so to answer the OP's question, one should probably point out that reflection is a property of classical waves and media, not individual particles.
     
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