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Homework Help: Nuclear Physics: Recoil in gamma decay

  1. Sep 25, 2013 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Question wants you to

    a) find the difference between Egamma and the excitation energy of the nucleus due to the fact that the nucleus recoils. (using approximation that Egamma is small relative to nucleus mass.

    other parts are simple if I can get a)

    2. Relevant equations

    Unsure but obviously we have 931.494 MeV/u and I'm using a linear elastic assumption as well the assumption that energy is conserved.

    3. The attempt at a solution

    Starting from momentum = 0 I got the momentum of the photon must = - momentum of nucleus

    p=0 => abs(mv)=abs(h/λ)

    and since λ=ch/Egamma

    → abs(mv)=abs(Egamma/c)


    Now using Eexc=Egamma+Enucleus

    leading to the relation




    if m is given in amu and Egamma in MeV

    which if I apply the assumption given in the question that c2m >> Egamma I obtain

    E=Egamma as the second term goes to zero.

    Now my thought on this is that unless I'm missing something recoil energy is given in terms tens or hundreds max of eV which would be negligable. Am I missing something here? Because the follow up questions become moot as everything goes to a multiplicative factor of 1.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 25, 2013 #2
    Or this is the Mössbauer effect and I'm dumb
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