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How can we have Inelastic scattering?

  1. Sep 25, 2013 #1
    Inelastic scattering is the scattering event in which heat is produced. But we know that heat is also due to particles' vibration. Therefore when the vibration is made in target by incident particle, the target would vibrate (in other words, phonons or heat are produced). Thus heat is a type of vibration. So what is the difference between elastic and inelastic scatterings?
     
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  3. Sep 25, 2013 #2

    jfizzix

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    The difference is in whether or not the translational kinetic energy of the scattered particles in conserved. If it is elastic scattering, the kinetic energy of the scattered particles will be the same as that of the incident particles. If not, then the collisions are inelastic.
     
  4. Sep 25, 2013 #3

    jfizzix

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    total energy is always conserved though.
     
  5. Sep 25, 2013 #4

    Andy Resnick

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    Not always: kinetic energy can also be converted into changes of 'internal' energy (vibrational, rotational, electronic, spin) states. This is how He-Ne lasers work, for example.
     
  6. Sep 25, 2013 #5
    Ok,thank you very much, But how about inelastic collision? According to the fact that heat is anyhow a type of vibration how can we have inelastic collision?
     
  7. Sep 25, 2013 #6
    This internal vibrations are excluded from the computation of the translational kinetic energy of the object as a whole which uses the speed of the center of mass, not the speed of each individual particle. That part of the kinetic energy belongs with the internal energy (thermal energy).
     
  8. Sep 25, 2013 #7
    By this you mean that: If we have two single particles (such as electron), we would only have elastic collision and inelastic collision is not possible. Ok?
     
  9. Sep 25, 2013 #8
    Yes, except that if the energy of the collision is high enough, you would start producing new particles by pair-production and that process would consume part of the kinetic energy, than you would have inelastic collision between electrons.
     
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