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Compton Effect
written by Jose Ignacio Fernández Palop
The Compton Effect model simulates the  the scattering of light off of an electron, the Compton effect. Compton used the idea that light behaves like a particle to explain light-electron (photon-electron) scattering. He used the relation for the energy and momentum of the photon and the relativistic expression for the energy of the electron, and applied relativistic energy and momentum conservation for the collision. The wavelength shift of the light depend on the angle of the scattered photon (and the electron). By changing the scattering angle in the simulation, the angle of the scattered photon changes according to Compton's equation. The panel on the left shows the experimental set up, while the panel on the right shows the resulting photon wavelength from the scattering. In a typical Compton experiment, light is scattered off of the electrons in an atom, and there is little scattering due to the more tightly held electrons while there is more scattering due to the less tightly held electrons. This is what is responsible for the two peak distribution shown.

The Compton Effect model was created using the Easy Java Simulations (EJS) modeling tool.  It is distributed as a ready-to-run (compiled) Java archive.  Double clicking the ejs_qm_compton.jar file will run the program if Java is installed.

Please note that this resource requires at least version 1.5 of Java (JRE).
1 source code document is available
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Modern Physics
- Atomic Physics
Quantum Physics
- Probability, Waves, and Interference
- Lower Undergraduate
- Upper Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Interactive Simulation
Intended Users Formats Ratings
- Educators
- Learners
- application/java
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Access Rights:
Free access
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license.
Rights Holder:
José Ignacio Fernández Palop
Compton, EJS, Easy Java Simulations, OSP, Open Source Physics, modern physcis, quantum mechanics
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created December 12, 2010 by Mario Belloni
Record Updated:
June 3, 2014 by Andreu Glasmann
Last Update
when Cataloged:
December 12, 2010
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Record Link
AIP Format
J. Palop, Computer Program COMPTON EFFECT (2010), WWW Document, (
J. Palop, Computer Program COMPTON EFFECT (2010), <>.
APA Format
Palop, J. (2010). Compton Effect [Computer software]. Retrieved October 23, 2021, from
Chicago Format
Palop, Jose Ignacio Fernández. "Compton Effect." (accessed 23 October 2021).
MLA Format
Palop, Jose Ignacio Fernández. Compton Effect. Computer software. 2010. Java (JRE) 1.5. 23 Oct. 2021 <>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Jose Ignacio Fernández Palop", Title = {Compton Effect}, Month = {December}, Year = {2010} }
Refer Export Format

%A Jose Ignacio Fernández Palop %T Compton Effect %D December 12, 2010 %U %O application/java

EndNote Export Format

%0 Computer Program %A Palop, Jose Ignacio Fernández %D December 12, 2010 %T Compton Effect %8 December 12, 2010 %U

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Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Electronic References.

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Compton Effect:

Is Based On Easy Java Simulations Modeling and Authoring Tool

The Easy Java Simulations Modeling and Authoring Tool is needed to explore the computational model used in the Compton Effect.

relation by Mario Belloni

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