PHOTON SCATTERING

77

This is called the Thomson cross section, and it is a factor 8/3 larger than the ‘area’ π r2 e of the electron. The units in Equation (2.106) are correct as is, there is no need to add powers of or c. As was the case for Rayleigh scattering, this allowed Thomson to derive Equation (2.106) using classical electrodynamics. If the incident photon is polarized along the x-axis but the outgoing photon’s polarization is not observed we get dσ = r2 e d
2

ε1 (k) · ε λ (k )
λ =1

2

2 2 2 = r2 e (sin φ + cos θ cos φ )

(2.107)

Now there is φ dependence, made possible by the fact that a direction perpendicular to the incident photon’s direction is defined by its polarization. Interestingly, for forward scattering (θ = 0) we find that the φ dependence disappears as it should. If the incident photon is unpolarized and the outgoing photon is required to be polarized along ε 1 (k ) we get dσ 1 = r2 e2 d
2 λ=1

ελ (k) · ε 1 (k )

2

2 2 2 =1 2 re (sin φ + cos φ ) 2 =1 2 re

(2.108)

This cross section is independent of θ and φ . If instead we require the outgoing photon to be polarized along ε 2 (k ) we get dσ 1 = r2 e2 d
2 λ=1

ε λ (k) · ε 2 (k )

2

2 2 2 2 2 =1 2 re (cos θ cos φ + cos θ sin φ ) 2 2 =1 2 re cos θ

(2.109)

This is a remarkable result when compared with Equation (2.108). It is 2 zero for θ = π/2 and equals 1 2 re for θ = 0 or π . We see that scattering at a certain angle can cause the outgoing photon to be polarized and the polarization is a maximum for θ = π/2. Reflect on why the roles of ε1 (k ) and ε 2 (k ) are so different.