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Mossbauer Effect how does it work?

  1. Aug 26, 2013 #1
    I know what the Mossbauer effect is. I know the crystal as a whole accepts the recoil not just the atom emitting the gamma ray. But the gamma emission is a fast nuclear event say 1E-22 seconds. The distance, in terms of time, to the nearest neighbor atom is 3E-19 seconds not to mention the distance, in terms of time, to an atom 100 unit cells away is 3E-17 seconds. It would seem the momentum would have to be transferred faster than the speed of light. How does this work???
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 27, 2013 #2


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    Well, I think the explanation is that the emitting atom sits in a preexisting electrostatic potential, and its recoil pushes against that, as a local interaction. It's true the recoil eventually has to be imparted to the other atoms through a readjustment of the electrostatic field, but this does not have to take place at the moment the gamma ray is emitted.
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