Coherent scattering

Last revised by Frank Gaillard on 05 Aug 2020

Coherent scattering (also known as unmodifiedclassical or elastic scattering) is one of three forms of photon interaction which occurs when the energy of the x-ray or gamma photon is small in relation to the ionization energy of the atom. It, therefore, occurs with low energy radiation.

Upon interacting with the attenuating medium, the photon does not have enough energy to liberate the electron from its bound state (i.e. the photon energy is well below the binding energy of the electron) so no energy transfer occurs. There is no energy deposition and thus no dose resulting from coherent scattering. The only change is a change of direction (scatter) of the photon, hence 'unmodified' scatter. Coherent scattering is not a major interaction process encountered in radiography at the energies normally used.

Coherent scattering varies with the atomic number of the absorber (Z) and incident photon energy (E) by Z/E2.

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Cases and figures

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