Nuclear Forward Scattering


Introduction to the theory behind

While conventional Mössbauer spectroscopy (MS) measures the resonant absorption process, nuclear forward scattering (NFS) is regarded as a scattering process.


After the excitation of a nucleus by an incoming g-quantum the subsequent nuclear decay takes place
  • as reemission of a g-quantum or
  • as internal conversion.

The probability for internal conversion is for iron much larger than that for the radiative decay, only 8.2% of the excited nuclei decay by emitting a photon.


Absorption and emission processes involved in the radiative decay can proceed without changing any quantum number of the involved nuclei and lattice. In this case

the coherence of the radiation is preserved,

the scattered quanta are scattered into forward direction (and Bragg-directions in case of a single crystal) and different nuclear transitions interfere with each other.


The theory describing the whole process consists of two parts.
  • The kinematical theory of diffraction approximates a thin scatterer where each scattering centre interacts only with the primary wave.
  • In the dynamial theory of nuclear resonant scattering also multiple scattering is taken into account.

The theory of nuclear resonant scattering was introduced and developed in the 60's and 70's by Trammell [], Kagan and Afanas'ev [,,,,], Trammell and Hannon [,,,,].

The following introduction to the theory of forward scattering is based on the review articles [,,].


Based on the PhD thesis
of Alessandro Barla, Herdecke 2001
and Hanne Grünsteudel, Lübeck 1998

Last modified 11/06/02 06:32 PM by Ernst Schreier