Measuring the Momentum Distribution of the Unpaired Spin Electrons in Ferromagnets using Synchrotron Radiation

  • Dennis M. Mills
Conference paper


The dominant term in the x-ray Compton cross-section of an electron is the interaction of the photon and the electron’s charge. Platzman and Tsoar many years ago pointed out that there is also an interaction between an x-ray and the electron’s spin and in principle this interaction can give information on the momentum distribution of the unpaired spin electrons in the solid. Unfortunately the spin sensitive term is not only small compared to the charge term, but in addition couples to the photons in first order only with that components of the x-ray beam that is circularly polarized. A lack of intense sources of circularly polarized x-rays combined with the relative small size of the spin sensitive term makes measurements of the momentum distributions of unpaired spin electrons difficult resulting in little experimental progress initially made in spin or magnetic Compton scattering.

In the past several years interest in spin sensitive Compton scattering has been revived due in large part to the availability of intense beams of high energy photons from synchrotron radiation sources. The radiation from storage ring sources has well defined polarization states; highly linearly polarized in the orbital plane and elliptically polarized above and below the plane of the orbit of the circulating particles. The high flux and unique polarization properties of synchrotron radiation sources have greatly facilitated measurements of the momentum distributions of the unpaired spin electrons in ferromagnetic solids. Recent results of the work of several groups will be presented along with some thoughts on the impact that the next generation of storage rings, such as the Advanced Photon Source, and insertion devices specifically designed to produce circularly polarized x-ray beams will have on the field of magnetic Compton scattering.


Momentum Distribution Orbital Plane Compton Scattering Solid State Detector Synchrotron Radiation Source 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dennis M. Mills
    • 1
  1. 1.Advanced Photon SourceArgonne National LaboratoryArgonneUSA

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