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The Nucleus of an Atom
The Structure of the Nucleus of an Atom
Describe the structure of the nucleus of an atom
word atom is derived from the Greek word atom which means indivisible.
The Greeks concluded that matter could be broken down into particles to
small to be seen. These particles were called atoms.
are composed of three type of particles: protons, neutrons, and
electron.Protons and neutrons are responsible for most of the atomic
mass e.g in a 150 person 149 lbs, 15 oz are protons and neutrons while
only 1 oz. is electrons.The mass of an electron is very small (9.108 X
10-28 grams).
the protons and neutrons reside in the nucleus. Protons have a positive
(+) charge, neutrons have no charge i.e they are neutral. Electrons
reside in orbitals around the nucleus. They have a negative charge (-).
is the number of protons that determines the atomic number, e.g., H =
1. The number of protons in an element is constant (e.g., H=1, Ur=92)
but neutron number may vary, so mass number (protons + neutrons) may
The same element may contain varying numbers of neutrons; these forms of an element are called isotopes. The chemical properties of isotopes are the same, although the physical properties of some isotopes may be different.
isotopes are radioactive-meaning they “radiate” energy as they decay to
a more stable form, perhaps another element half-life: time required
for half of the atoms of an element to decay into stable form. Another
example is oxygen, with atomic number of 8 can have 8, 9, or 10
The Atomic Number, Mass Number and Isotopes of an Element and their Symbols
Explain the atomic number, mass number and isotopes of an element and their symbols
atomic number of a chemical element (also known as its proton number)
is the number of protons found in the nucleus of an atom of that
element.Therefore it is identical to the charge number of the nucleus.
It is conventionally represented by the symbol Z.
atomic number uniquely identifies a chemical element. In an uncharged
atom, the atomic number is also equal to the number of electrons.
The atomic number, Z, should not be confused with the mass number, A.
number is the number of nucleons, i. e the total number of protons and
neutrons in the nucleus of an atom. —The number of neutrons, N, is
known as the neutron number of the atom; thus, A = Z + N (these
quantities are always whole numbers).
protons and neutrons have approximately the same mass (and the mass of
the electrons is negligible for many purposes) and the mass defect of
nucleon binding is always small compared to the nucleon mass, the atomic
mass of any atom, when expressed in unified atomic mass units (making a
quantity called the “relative isotopic mass”), is roughly (to within
1%) equal to the whole number A.
Isotopes are atoms with the same atomic number Z but different neutron numbers N, and hence different atomic masses.
little more than three-quarters of naturally occurring elements exist
as a mixture of isotopes (see monoisotopic elements), and the average
isotopic mass of an isotopic mixture for an element (called the relative
atomic mass) in a defined environment on Earth, determines the
element’s standard atomic weight.
it was these atomic weights of elements (in comparison to hydrogen)
that were the quantities measurable by chemists in the 19th century.The
chemical properties of isotopes are the same, although the physical
properties of some isotopes may be different.
isotopes are radioactive-meaning they “radiate” energy as they decay to
a more stable form, perhaps another element half-life: time required
for half of the atoms of an element to decay into stable form. Another
example is oxygen, with atomic number of 8 can have 8, 9, or 10
Forces Holding the Nucleus
Mention forces holding the nucleus
Stable and unstable atoms
are forces within the atom that account for the behavior of the
protons, neutrons, and electrons. Without these forces, an atom could
not stay together.
that protons have a positive charge, electrons a negative charge, and
neutrons are neutral. According to the laws of physics, like charges
repel each other and unlike charges attract each other. A force called
the strong force opposes and overcomes the force of repulsion between
the protons and holds the nucleus together.
net energy associated with the balance of the strong force and the
force of repulsion is called the binding energy. The electrons are kept
in orbit around the nucleus because there is an electromagnetic field of
attraction between the positive charge of the protons and the negative
charge of the electrons.
some atoms, the binding energy is great enough to hold the nucleus
together. The nucleus of this kind of atom is said to be stable. In some
atoms the binding energy is not strong enough to hold the nucleus
together, and the nuclei of these atoms are said to be unstable.
Unstable atoms will lose neutrons and protons as they attempt to become
  1. Binding
    energy is the net energy that is the result of the balance with the
    strong force and the repulsive force, and this is the amount of energy
    that holds the nucleus together.
  2. A stable atom is an atom that has enough binding energy to hold the nucleus together permanently.
  3. An unstable atom does not have enough binding energy to hold the nucleus together permanently and is called a radioactive atom.


Thermionic Emission
emission is the discharge of electrons from heated materials, widely
used as a source of electrons in conventional electron tubes (e.g.,
television picture tubes) in the fields of electronics and
communications. The phenomenon was first observed (1883) by Thomas A.
Edison as a passage of electricity from a filament to a plate of metal
inside an incandescent lamp. The classical example of thermionic
emission is the emission of electrons from a hot cathode into a vacuum
(also known as thermal electron emission or the Edison effect) in a
vacuum tube. The hot cathode can be a metal filament, a coated metal
filament, or a separate structure of metal or carbides or borides of
transition metals. Vacuum emission from metals tends to become
significant only for temperatures over 1000 K. The science dealing with
this phenomenon has been known as “thermionics,” but this name seems to
be gradually falling into disuse.
rays (also called an electron beam or e-beam) are streams of electrons
observed in vacuum tubes.Electrons were first discovered as the
constituents of cathode rays. In 1897 British physicist J. J. Thomson
showed the rays were composed of a previously unknown negatively charged
particle, which was later named the electron. Cathode ray tubes (CRTs)
use a focused beam of electrons deflected by electric or magnetic fields
to create the image in a classic television set.
The Production of Cathode Rays
Explain the production of cathode rays
rays are so named because they are emitted by the negative electrode,
or cathode, in a vacuum tube. To release electrons into the tube, they
first must be detached from the atoms of the cathode.
vacuum tubes use thermionic emission, in which the cathode is made of a
thin wire filament which is heated by a separate electric current
passing through it. The increased random heat motion of the filament
atoms knocks electrons out of the atoms at the surface of the filament,
into the evacuated space of the tube.
the electrons have a negative charge, they are repelled by the cathode
and attracted to the anode. They travel in straight lines through the
empty tube. The voltage applied between the electrodes accelerates these
low mass particles to high velocities. Cathode rays are invisible, but
their presence was first detected in early vacuum tubes when they struck
the glass wall of the tube, exciting the atoms of the glass and causing
them to emit light, a glow called fluorescence.
noticed that objects placed in the tube in front of the cathode could
cast a shadow on the glowing wall, and realized that something must be
travelling in straight lines from the cathode.
the electrons reach the anode, they travel through the anode wire to
the power supply and back to the cathode, so cathode rays carry electric
current through the tube. The current in a beam of cathode rays through
a tube can be controlled by passing it through a metal screen of wires
(a grid) to which a small voltage is applied.
electric field of the wires deflects some of the electrons, preventing
them from reaching the anode. Thus a small voltage on the grid can be
made to control a much larger voltage on the anode. This is the
principle used in vacuum tubes to amplify electrical signals.
speed beams of cathode rays can also be steered and manipulated by
electric fields created by additional metal plates in the tube to which
voltage is applied, or magnetic fields created by coils of wire
(electromagnets). These are used in cathode ray tubes, found in
televisions and computer monitors, and in electron microscopes.
The Properties of Cathode Rays
State the properties of cathode rays
Properties of Cathode Rays Include:
  1. Cathode
    rays travel in straight lines. That is why, cathode rays cast shadow of
    any solid object placed in their path. The path cathode rays travel is
    not affected by the position of the anode.
  2. Cathode rays consist
    of matter particles, and posses energy by the virtue of its mass and
    velocity. Cathode rays set a paddle wheel into motion when it is placed
    in the path of these rays one the bladder of the paddle wheel.
  3. Cathode
    rays consist of negatively charged particles. When cathode rays are
    subjected to an electrical field, these get deflected towards the
    positively charge plate (Anode).We know that a positively charged body
    would attract only a negatively charged body, therefore the particles of
    cathode rays carry negative charge.Cathode rays also get deflected when
    these are subjected to a strong magnetic field.
  4. Cathode rays
    heat the object only which they fall. The cathode ray particles possess
    kinetic energy. When these particles strike an object, a part of the
    kinetic energy is transferred to the object. The causes a rise in the
    temperature of the object.
  5. Cathode rays cause green fluorescence
    on glass surface, i.e., the glass surface only which the cathode rays
    strike show a colored shine.
  6. Cathode rays can penetrate through thin metallic sheets.
  7. Cathode rays ionize the gases through which they travel.
  8. Cathode
    rays when fall only certain metals such as copper, but rays produced.
    The X-rays are not deflected by electrical or magnetic fields. X-rays
    pass through opaque materials such as black paper, but stopped by solid
    objects such as bones.
  9. Cathode rays travel with speed nearly equal to that of light.
The Application of Cathode Ray Tube
State the application of cathode ray tube
Application of cathode ray tube includes:
LCD or Plasma television, the CRT was used to create a moving image.It
used the same principle as a CRT, and for Black and White televisions,
that worked fine. B&W TVs were essentially the same thing as a CRT,
as all that’s needed is the control of the brightness of the beam.
CRT TV works by having the electron beam “scan” the screen at an rate
faster than our eyes can perceive.This means that it shoots across the
screen like a machine gun, and the images we see are actually made from
many fluorescent dots.
fluorescence caused by the beam striking the screen lasts a bit longer
so that the next scan can be made without the previous image
disappearing.It scans twice each time, first filling in the odd “holes”
then the even ones.Each scan is about 1/50 of a second.
CRT TVs had 3 electron guns rather than a single one, a shadow mask,
and a modified fluorescent screen.The 3 electron guns were needed as
there were three primary colours (Red, Green and Blue) that could be
adjusted in different amounts to create any colour.
colours are formed as a result of the shadow mask, which is a layer
with holes in it that controls the angle of the incoming electron beams.
This is because the fluorescent screen is separated into multi-coloured
phosphors that are placed adjacent to each other at small intervals.
Thus it isn’t actually a single coloured pixel, but rather 3 very small pixels that join together to form a larger dot.
Cathode Ray Oscilloscopes
Cathode Ray Oscilloscope (CRO) is a diagnostic device that allows one
to “see” voltage.It is essential a Cathode Ray Tube with two
perpendicular sets of deflecting electric plates.The vertical set is
where an input voltage is plugged in for the oscilloscope to display.
the horizontal set is connected to a “sweep generator”.This is what
provides a constant, but adjustable, timebase for the sweeping.It
essentially creates a “sawtooth voltage.”This is what causes the image
to be animated, and measured with a linear scale.



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