Key characteristics of Compton Scattering
- Compton scattering dominates at intermediate energies.
- It is the scattering of photons by atomic electrons
- Photons undergo a wavelength shift called the Compton shift.
- The energy transferred to the recoil electron can vary from zero to a large fraction of the incident gamma ray energy
Definition of Compton Scattering
Compton scattering is the inelastic or nonclassical scattering of a photon (which may be an X-ray or gamma ray photon
) by a charged particle, usually an electron. In Compton scattering, the incident gamma ray photon is deflected through an angle Θ with respect to its original direction. This deflection results in a decrease in energy (decrease in photon’s frequency) of the photon and is called the Compton effect
. The photon transfers a portion of its energy to the recoil electron
. The energy transferred to the recoil electron can vary from zero to a large fraction of the incident gamma ray energy, because all angles of scattering are possible. The Compton scattering was observed by A. H.Compton in 1923
at Washington University in St. Louis. Compton earned the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1927
for this new understanding about the particle-nature of photons.