Compton Wavelength

In physics, the Compton wavelength is the quantum mechanical property of a particle and is defined as the wavelength of the particle equal to the wavelength of the photon with same mass. It is well explained through the process called Compton scattering. The standard Compton wavelength is denoted by Greek letter λ (Lambda) measured using the SI unit of length angstrom (meter).

Compton wavelength ( λ)

According to CODATA 2014, the value of Compton wavelength of an electron is –

Compton wavelength λ  2.4263102367(11) × 10-12 meter
Compton wavelength λ 0.0242 angstrom

Value of Compton wavelength is constant for a particle. Thus, the value varies from particle to particle. Compton wavelength of an electron is used in the derivation of Compton effect for any particle.

Compton Wavelength Equation

The Compton wavelength of a particle is equal to the wavelength of a photon whose energy is the same as the mass of that particle. Thus the standard Compton wavelength equation is given by

\(\begin{array}{l}\lambda = \frac{h}{mc}\end{array} \)


  • λ is the Compton wavelength of a particle measured using the meter.
  • h is the Planck constant.
  • m is the mass of the particle measured using gram.
  • c is the speed of light in vacuum measured using m/s.

The significance of this formula is well expressed in the derivation of the Compton shift formula. The equivalence of mass and energy is well explained through mass-energy equivalence.

Physics Related Topics:

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