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Compton scattering
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In a Compton scattering interaction an incoming gamma-ray photon interacts with a nearly free atomic electron. The gamma-ray transfers only a fraction of its energy to the electron and is deflected through an angle q from its original path. 

The scattered gamma continues with the remaining energy Eg'. The electron, now termed a recoil electron, is ejected from the atom with the energy:

where m0c2 = rest mass of an electron

 Have a go This simulation demonstrates Compton scattering. To explore the relationship between the percentage of energy transferred to the recoil electron and scattering angle of the gamma-ray go to the graph plotting exercise here...

The energy transferred to the recoil electron can be detected and observed as the Compton continuum in an energy spectrum. In normal circumstances all scattering angles occur and a continuum of energies can be transferred to the recoil electron (ranging from 0 to 180). 


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1999, 2000 The University of Liverpool, Department of Physics

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