Compton effect

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The Compton effect is the name given for the scattering of light by free or nearly free electrons.[1] Arthur Holly Compton (1892-1962) discovered that when a photon strikes an electron, it imparts both energy and momentum to the electron, which recoils. After collision, the photon’s energy has decreased and therefore its wavelength has increased. The effect is considered the confirmation that light is made of particles and photons have momentum. Compton measured photon-electron scattering in 1922 and received the Nobel in Physics in 1927 for his achievement in contributing to the theory of wave-particle duality.[2][3][4]


  1. H. Haken, Hans Christoph Wolf (2007). The physics of atoms and quanta: introduction to experiments and theory, 7th ed. Springer, p. 60. ISBN 3540208070. 
  2. Andrew Duffy (2000). The Compton Effect. Boston University, Physics Department. An example calculation from the Modern Physics section of Andrew Duffy's and Ali Loewy's on-line PhysLabs project at Boston University.
  3. Rod Nave. Compton Scattering. Hyper Physics, Georgia State University. A section from the HyperPhysics web site.
  4. Nobel Prize in Physics 1927. Nobel Foundation.