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Q & A: photon recoil

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Most recent answer: 07/06/2013
Q:
I think the question is related to an earlier one that asked how photons can accelerate from 0 - c instantaneously, but I don't quite know how to apply the idea to my scenario. Is there recoil when a photon is emitted from a source?
- Jacob (age 19)
Cambridge, UK
A:

Yes.

In some cases, there's only a slight recoil of the whole emitting object, allowing what's called Mössbauer spectroscopy. (ö) When people say that it's "recoil free" they mean that the recoil momentum, always equal and opposite to the photon momentum, corresponds to a very tiny energy loss.

Mike W.


(published on 07/06/2013)

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