Photo Emission by Individual Electron Wave Packets in Strong Laser Fields

Dr. Michael Ware
Brigham young University
Department of Physics and Astronomy

The scattering of light from electrons is one of the most fundamental processes in physics.  Some aspects of scattering are simple enough to be taught in introductory science courses, such as Compton scattering and its low-energy manifestation, Thomson Scattering.  However, other aspects are not as obvious.  For example, how does the size of an electron wavepacket influence the scattering of light from that electron?  A full description of the phenomenon requires Quantum Electrodynamics (QED), where both the electron and the photon are treated in a fully quantum mechanical framework.  But the complexity of QED makes it intractable to describe even this simple situation. In this colloquium, I will discuss our experimental, computational, and theoretical efforts to understand the details of light scattering from free electrons.