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(breaking radiation, free-free radiation)
(photon emission when a charged particle is decelerated)

Bremsstrahlung (braking radiation) is electromagnetic radiation produced when a charged particle decelerates, when its course is deflected by another charged particle. A photon is emitted that balances the energy equation. The resulting radiation emission has a continuous spectrum (continuum emission), as opposed, for example, to emission lines. It is also called free-free radiation in expressing the point that it is not from an electron bound to an atom.

An astronomical source of bremsstrahlung is the intracluster medium associated with a galaxy clusters.

The reverse of bremsstrahlung radiation is also possible, called free-free absorption, where an electron and another particle interact and a photon is absorbed. Free-free absorption occurs in HII regions, affecting their spectrum.


Referenced by:
continuum emission
electron scattering
Kramers opacity law
synchrotron radiation