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Revista mexicana de física

Print version ISSN 0035-001X

Rev. mex. fis. vol.48 n.3 México Jun. 2002




Thomson scattering revisited


R. Cuevas and A. Queijeiro


Departamento de Física, Esc. Sup. de Física y Matemáticas Edificio 9, Unidad Profesional Adolfo López Mateos Instituto Politécnico Nacional, México D. F., 07738.


Recibido el 23 de octubre de 2001.
Aceptado el 15 de enero de 2002.



We review Thomson scattering, as the low energy limit of Compton scattering, for target particles of spin 0, 1/2, 1, and 3/2 . We show how, at the scattering amplitude level, Thomson result emerges; then, the computation of the cross section is quite simple.

Keywords: Scattering; photons; particle spin.



Calculamos la dispersión Thomson, como el límite de bajas energías de la dispersión Compton, para partículas blanco de espines 0, 1/2, 1, and 3/2. Mostramos como el resultado de Thomson se obtiene al nivel de la amplitud de dispersión, de donde el cálculo de la sección de dispersión resulta más simple.

Palabras clave: Dispersión; fotones; espín de partícula.

PACS: 12.20.Ds; 11.80.Cr





1. For a historical account of the discovery of Compton effect see: R. H. Stuewer and M. J. Cooper in Compton Scattering, edited by B. Williams (McGraw-Hill, 1977).         [ Links ]

2. A few of them are J. D. Bjorken and S. D. Drell, Relativistic Quantum Mechanics (McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1964) pp. 127-132, and 193-195;         [ Links ] M. D. Scadron, Advanced Quantum Theory and its Applications Through Feynman Diagrams (Springer Verlag, 1979) pp. 55-71, 199-201.         [ Links ] A non-relativistic quantum treatment, in the dipolar approximation, can be found in J. Sakurai, Advanced Quantum Mechanics (Addison Wesley, 1967) pp. 36-53.         [ Links ]

3. J. D. Jackson, Classical Electrodynamics (Wiley, New York, 1975) pp. 679-683.         [ Links ]

4. See for example the Appendix B in Bjorken-Drell's book.

5. Compton scattering of spin-one particles was considered by Wu-Ki Tung, Phys. Rev. 176 (1968) 2127.         [ Links ]

6. Compton scattering of spin-3/2 particles was considered by Jon Mathews, Phys. Rev. 102 (1956) 270,         [ Links ] although no discussion of the contact transformations is done.

7. A. Pais, Phys. Rev. Lett. 19 (1967) 544;         [ Links ] Nuovo Cimento 53A (1968) 433;         [ Links ] Ira J. Kalet, Phys. Rev. 176 (1968) 2135.         [ Links ]

8. F. E. Low, Phys. Rev. 96 (1954) 1428.         [ Links ]

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