# Compton Formula

## Compton Scattering Formula

The Compton formula was published in 1923 in the Physical Review. Compton explained that the X-ray shift is caused by particle-like momentum of photons. Compton scattering formula is the mathematical relationship between the shift in wavelength and the scattering angle of the X-rays. In the case of Compton scattering the photon of frequency f collides with an electron at rest. Upon collision, the photon bounces off electron, giving up some of its initial energy (given by Planck’s formula E=hf), While the electron gains momentum (mass x velocity), the photon cannot lower its velocity. As a result of momentum conservetion law, the photon must lower its momentum given by:So the decrease in photon’s momentum must be translated into decrease in frequency (increase in wavelength Δλ = λ’ – λ). The shift of the wavelength increased with scattering angle according to the Compton formula:whereλ is the initial wavelength of photonλ’ is the wavelength after scattering,h is the Planck constant = 6.626 x 10-34 J.sme is the electron rest mass (0.511 MeV)c is the speed of lightΘ is the scattering angle.The minimum change in wavelength (λ′λ) for the photon occurs when Θ = 0° (cos(Θ)=1) and is at least zero. The maximum change in wavelength (λ′λ) for the photon occurs when Θ = 180° (cos(Θ)=-1). In this case the photon transfers to the electron as much momentum as possible.The maximum change in wavelength can be derived from Compton formula:The quantity h/mec is known as the Compton wavelength of the electron and is equal to 2.43×10−12 m.

## See previous:

Definition of Compton Scattering

## See above:

Compton Scattering

## See next:

Cross-Sections of Compton Scattering