Cross Sections and Rate Constants
In order to describe in a quantitative way the phenomena discussed in the previous chapter, we need to be able to calculate or measure the required cross sections or rate constants. To begin the discussion, we divide collisions into two classes: elastic collisions (scattering) during which the particles interact (collide) with each other but only their directions of motion and speeds change, and inelastic collisions in which both the motion and the internal energies of the particles are changed. In Table 2.1 are given examples of inelastic collisions which we will consider in this text. Although inelastic collisions are clearly more interesting, we start by discussing experiments which only determine whether or not a particle was deflected.
KeywordsImpact Parameter Differential Cross Section Inelastic Collision Incident Particle Target Atom
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