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!

What happens when an electron is hit by a laser beam?

  1. Feb 21, 2016 #1
    Just a quick question. We know that an accelerated electron shoots out light, and light that falls on an electron in an atom, excites it. But what happens to an electron in vaccum, when it encounters a laser beam?

    If an electron beam from an electron microscope, were to to intercept a laser beam, what would happen?

    Would the beam be shifted in angle? And why if they are can lasers be used to accelerate particles in a particle accelerator instead of using an electric field?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 21, 2016 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    An electron can scatter light. The scattered light can transfer some momentum the electron, such that total momentum of the electron-photon system is conserved.

    Ha e you heard of a light sail? If not, then Google it.
  4. Feb 22, 2016 #3
    Light sails use mirrors, I was aware of them before. But I am specifically asking what direction an electron would be scattered in, in the presence of a laser.

    Can a laser be used to guide an electron for instance? Or does the scattering take place in all angles?
  5. Feb 22, 2016 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    Yes you can guide an ekectron with a laser.

    Edit, but not every direction. You can't draw the electron toward the laser.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook