1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

I Is collsional frequency actually frequency per an electron?

  1. Jun 12, 2016 #1

    The collisional frequency is generally expressed by ν = nt×average of (σv), where nt, σ and v are density of target (atoms or molecules), collisional cross section of target and kinetic velocity of incident particles. σ depends on kinetic energy of incident particles

    I thought collisional frequency must also be replied on density of incident particles but typically expression doesn't have this factor. Let's imagine thermal collision of electrons to other particles. With the same electron temperature and target density, collision frequency should be proportional to the electron density. That is why this is werld for me.

    So I guess collision frequency calculated from the formula above is actually collisional frequency per an indicent particle. I'm wondering my interpretation is right.

    Please help me to clarify this:)
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 13, 2016 #2

    It is just the frequency of collisions bbetween incident and target particles. The mean free path can be defined as l = 1/(σ*nt). You can think of this as the average distance travelled between collisions. So your equation can be rewritten as nu = v/l = speed/distance. This is obviously in units of Hz, e.g. it is a frequency. Perhaps easier to understand if you want time between collisions: t = l/v. And of course nu = 1/t.
    The collision frequency just depends on the material properties of the target and not the beam (obviously velocity of beamed particles but that's not a material property)

    There is something calle dthe luminosity of the beam and that depends on the number of beam particles per unit time.
  4. Jun 13, 2016 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2017 Award

    This value of frequency will be an 'average' value because the particles will not be arriving at regular intervals.
    1/(mean interval between collisions) would be a mean frequency.
  5. Jun 13, 2016 #4
    Hello answerers

    Thanks to give me very clear point. As Collisional frequency formula is equal to speed of an incident particle/mean free path of that particle, so it is average value of collisional frequency for a particle, not sum of all collisional frequency for all incident particles.

    I think this interpretation is correct.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted

Similar Discussions: Is collsional frequency actually frequency per an electron?
  1. Frequency and electrons (Replies: 13)