Remotely controlled Compton scattering: relativistic dynamics and the electron mass.
Background and nature of task
The rest mass of the electron is determined by observation of the angle dependent energy losses during X-ray scattering.
The X-rays are generated when a high energy electron beam impacts on a molybdenum target. The scattering is then effected by placing a block of solid material in a beam of collimated X-rays from this source, as if they comprised a stream of particles. An electron that scatters an X-ray photon takes momentum and energy from it. The conservation of momentum and energy, both treated relativistically, combine to give a determination of the electron rest mass from the angular dependence of the energy of the scattered X-rays.
This experiment is restricted to Open University (OU) students studying modules from the OU Physical Sciences curriculum. It is available at specific times via an online booking system. Contact OpenScience@open.ac.uk to discuss options for access outside the OU Physical Sciences curriculum. Further breifing material will be available including a video tutorial on the mathematical basis for the measurement.
Duration and pattern of use
It should take approximately 2-4 hours in preparation and 1 hour in real time remote control.