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Inelastic Scattering
    B: 2 of 4

There are four main processes by which a high energy electron (red here) can lose energy to an atom.
These are

  1. The excitation of a plasmon
  2. The excitation of a single electron from the valence band (pale green)
  3. The excitation of an inner shell electron (from the K or L shell)
  4. The excitation of a phonon

Three of these inelastic scattering processes are shown in the simulation on the right.

Try each type of excitation while watching each of the alternative pictorial representations of the atomic structure of the aluminium (single atom and atom in solid). Try the K shell excitation several times and then make sure that you understand the subsequent X-ray and Auger electron emission processes which are shown on the next page


1. How much energy is required to excite a plasmon in a typical metal?
2. What is the distinction between elastic and inelastic scattering?


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