What is SCATTERING?

General term for irregular reflection or dispersal of waves or particles, eg in acoustic waves in an enclosure leading to diffuse reverberant sound, Compton effect on electrons, light in passing through material, electrons, protons and neutrons in solids, radio waves by ionization. See forward scatter, back scatter. Particle scattering is termed elastic when no energy is surrendered during scattering process, otherwise it is inelastic. If due to electrostatic forces it is termed coulomb scattering; if short-range nuclear forces are involved it becomes anomalous. Long-wave electromagnetic wave scattering is classical or Thomson, while for higher frequencies resonance or potential scattering occurs according to whether the incident photon does or does not penetrate the scattering nucleus. Coulomb scattering of alpha particles is Rutherford scattering. For light, scattering by fine dust or suspensions of particles is Rayleigh scattering, while that in which the photon energy has changed slightly, due to interaction with vibrational or rotational energy of the molecules, is Raman scattering. Shadow scattering results from inter


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