How an electron can re-radiate an electromagnetic wave

  • Thread starter Thierry12
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Main Question or Discussion Point

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?
 

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  • #2
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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.
 
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Vanadium 50
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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.
 
  • #4
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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.
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.
 
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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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