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de Broglie Wavelength and Frequency of Scattered Electrons in the Compton Effect
Vinay Venugopal and Piyush S Bhagdikar
Division of Physics, School of Advanced Sciences, VIT University, Chennai Campus, Vandalur Kelambakkam Road, Chennai 600127, India
The undergraduate courses on modern physics generally consider the particle interpretation of Compton effect. Motivated by a student’s solution in an undergraduate examination on modern physics here we consider the wave characteristics of recoiled electrons in the Compton effect. The de Broglie wavelength, wave and clock frequency of the scattered electrons are expressed in terms of the wavelength and the frequency of the incident and the scattered photons respectively using the familiar particle interpretation of the Compton effect, where initially the electron is at rest and its spin is ignored. Both non-relativistic and relativistic cases are considered. Numerical values of de Broglie wavelength, wave and clock frequency of the scattered electron are calculated for an incident photon energy that was used in the original experiment of Compton as a function of the scattering angle of the recoiled electron. Considering the relativistic effects which are however insignificant for the de Broglie wavelength of the recoiled electron under these conditions, the minimum value obtained is in the range of X-rays. The non-relativistic de Broglie wave frequency obtained by neglecting the rest mass of the electron leads to an underestimation of its value. The implications of de Broglie wavelength and clock frequency for Compton scattering experiments are briefly discussed and possible extensions of the obtained mathematical formulations are indicated. The results are useful for understanding the wave-particle duality of the recoiled electron in the context of the Compton effect.