quantum physics
posted by Mischa on .
After a .800nm xray photon scatters from a free electron, the electron recoils with a speed equal to 1.20 x 10^6 m/s. (a) What was the Compton Shift in the photon's wavelength? (b) Through what angle was the photon scattered?
I got an answer for (a), but when i use it to find (b) the solution does not exist. I clearly did something wrong, and I can't figure it out.

a) follows from conservation of energy:
Photon energy + m = photon energy after collision plus gamma m
(in c = 1 units)
In b) you have to take into account that both the photon after the collision and the electron after the collison are not moving in the same direction the incident photon was moving.
The simplest way to solve this problem is by writing conservation of energy and momentum as a single fourmomentum equation:
pf + pe = qf + qe (1)
where
pf = fourmometum of photon before collision
pe = fourmomentum of electron before collision
qf = fourmometum of photon after collision
qe = fourmomentum of electron after collision
We are not interested in qe, so we want to eliminate it from the equation. What we do is we write (1) as:
qe = pf + pe  qf
We then square both sides:
qe^2 = (pf + pe  qf)^2 =
pf^2 + pe^2 + qf^2 + 2 pf dot pe +
 2 pf dot qf 2 pe dot qf
Next substitute the energy momentum relation p^2 = m^2, so we have:
qe^2 = m^2
pe^2 = m^2
pf^2 = 0
qf^2 = 0
and the equation simplifies to:
2 pf dot pe  2 pf dot qf 2 pe dot qf = 0
Pf dot qf contains the angle you want to know. Pe = (m,0,0) because the electron before the collision was at rest, so the Lorentz inner product of the two other terms are just the electron mass times the photon energies. 
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