Photons and electron, a gap in my learning.

  • Thread starter zonniboy
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  • #1
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I’m not sure if this is the right forum for my question so this was my best guess since it deals with photons. I’ve only gone through my first few physics classes that explain the classic structure of the atom, electromagnetic spectrum and the likes. I’ve also read a few books on physic on my own. But I seem to find a gap in my learning when it comes to photons interacting with electrons.

I’ve learned that a photon can exite an electron and send it to the next energy state if such photon has the right amount of energy. But nothing is metioned , either in class or in any book that I have read, on what happens if such photon hits an electron but doesn’t have enough energy to move it to the next state. What really happens with that package of energy? If it’s not enough to move an electron from one state to the other then does it just get wasted and dissappear or does it bounce off the electron or what?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
mathman
Science Advisor
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You can't think of photon-electron interaction like billiard ball collisions. If the photon energy is too little, it just passes by (nothing happens).
 

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