Compton Effect

An effect that demonstrates that photons (the quantum of electromagnetic radiation) have momentum. A photon fired at a stationary particle, such as an electron, will impart momentum to the electron and, since its energy has been decreased, will experience a corresponding decrease in frequency.

First observed by Arthur Compton in 1923, it convinced physicists that light can behave as a stream of particles whose energy is proportional to the frequency.

See also: Compton Electron, Compton Wavelength, Linear Momentum.

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Subjects: Physics