Sei sulla pagina 1di 68

SICS TOPICS

is, Malvern College; formerly


iel.d'O-level Physics Project.
kqround material for modern '
r\3uthqrs wem'OIose!y associated:
arion Physics Project and thus
ge .of its spirit. These books are"
ntional sense, nor do they give ;'"
, ns that pupil~ will be' carrying
,'~d;'thev show. :tb!3 relevance and ',:
world.of the principles studied

LONGM

N PHYSICS TOPICS

LONGMAN

PHYSICS

TOPICS

Materials D. W. Harding and L. Griffiths


Crystals Sr M. M. Hurst (Sr St Joan of Arc)
Pressures A. R. Duff
Forces R. D. Harrison
Electric Currents J. L. Lewis and P. E. Heafford
Heat A. 1. Parker and P. E. Heafford
Planetary Astronomy E. J. Wenham
Radioactivity J. L. Lewis and E. 1. Wenham
Using Light W. Llowarch and B. E. Woolnough
Ideas and Discoveries in Physics Sir Lawrence Bragg
Electromagnetism J. M. Osborne
Mass in Motion J. Jardine
From Darkness to Light: Renaissance Science D. D. Lindsay
Supersonic Flight-Bernoulli
to Concorde F. R. McKim
Waves D. C. F. Chaundy
Electrons and Atoms J. L. Lewis
Waves or Particles H. F. Boulind
Time G. Dorling
Magnetism G. W. Verow
Energy R. Stone and R. Dennien
Rutherford and the Nuclear Atom E. S. Shire
front cover

Teltron Maltese Cross tube: the shadows of the cross


in the white light from the filament and in the cathode
rays are both sharp and coincident; the shadows
separate in a magnetic field

back cover

Teltron double-beam tube: the stream of electrons is


both focused into a fine beam and made visible by
helium at low pressure. In a uniform magnetic field,
the electrons move in a circular path at right-angles to
it. The light from the luminous gas consists of several
distinct wavelengths, the strongest of which are green,
but because the colour film is less sensitive to these than
to other colours, the circle appears to be blue.

reason the Nier mass spectro1001 for analysis.


ectrometers have in recent years
atmosphere by rockets to study
e. At a height of 150 km, the
10 admit a sample of the atmor~ry low pressure) and it is then
I

LONGMAN

PHYSICS

TOPICS

General Editor:

John L. Lewis

ELECTRONS
AND ATOMS
John L. Lewis
to electrometer

mass spectrometers
are also used
11 plants to provide
a continuous
oosition of the materials going

Senior Science Master, Malvern College


and formerly Associate Organiser,
Nufjield O-level Physics Project

Illustrated

by T. H. McArthur

~~~

LONGMAN

111~~lrllfll~~III~nlllll
N25702

_._~J

LONGMAN

GROUP

LIMITED

APPENDIX

London
A ssociated companies,

branches and representatives

throughout

the world

Longman Group Ltd 1972


A II rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored
in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means - electronic,
mechanical, photocopying,
recording or otherwise - without the prior
permission of the copyright owner.
First published

jusi

1972

ISBN 0 582 32215 4


Printed in Great Britain by Butler and Tanner Ltd, Frome and London

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Frc

The author and publisher are grateful to the following for permission to reproduce photographs:
Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge,
page 42: Esso, pages 26 (above) and 30: Geological Survey Museum
Crown , page 7 (centre); Philip Harris Ltd, page 31; Kodansha
Ltd, page 9 (left and right); Gunter Lutzow, page 34 (left and
right); Mullard Ltd, pages 25, 57 (left and right) and 58 (above);
Mr H. E. C. Powers (retired, Tate and Lyle Ltd), page 7 (left);
Science Museum, London, pages 20 (all photos), 43, 50 (all photos)
and 60 (above and below right); Telequipment
Oscilloscopes by
courtesy of Teltronix U.K. Ltd, page 53 (left and right); Teltron
Ltd, pages 22, 24, 26 (below), 27, 28 (above and below) and cover
photographs.
The photograph
on page 8 (above) is from Martin,
Thirteen Stops to the A tom (H arrap), and on page 60 (above and
below left) from Aston, Mass Spectra and Isotopes (Arnold).

coli

smr
the
dif"
of
heir

4 X 11

T~
one,
aton
with
ChbJ
35.51
part

'n

Nier
The
meas

--------------~

, bombarding electrons is steadily


orne a time when each has enough
n electron and thereby produce a
field causes these ions to move
nter a strong field where they are
ave an ion gun. All the ions move
.ential difference, so they all have
gy.
,dern spectrometer,
developed by
in leaving the gun are deflected in
Ihrough 180 in the same way that
,ie beam tube were deflected into
,his time the magnetic field must
r. Why do you think it must be much
i

smeter
I

ble, the stream of ions from the ion


'rough a small angle, but the orbits
iter a half circle, as shown on the
lay is not too great.
h the beam focuses depends upon
Ions: there will be different points
'of M, so that a photographic
film
Ice of different isotopes.
am tube the kinetic energy of the
'rating voltage applied to the ions.

NOTE
TO THE
TEACHER

----------------,-

-,-------

This book is intended for use in the final year of the


Nuffield O-level Physics course. It attempts to bring
together topics discussed earlier in the course and to
show how they are relevant to the model of the atom
which we build up at the end of it. It should provide a
useful summary prior to examinations and emphasise
the logical development of our ideas.
An appendix at the end includes material beyond
what is strictly necessary for an O-level course, but it is
included so that the boy or girl who wants to take the
subject a little further can do so. The book, together
with the appendix, will also be suitable for the pupil
in the first year of an A-level course. It is unfortunate
that most A-level books are written in a language and
style suitable mainly for the second year. It is hoped
very much that the style in which this book is written
will be more suitable for those in their first year and
that they will therefore find it useful.
Although
it has been written with the needs of
Nuffield courses in mind, this book is also useful as a
background
book for the traditional course in which
ideas about the atom and its structure are increasingly
finding a place.

ICONTENTS I

WHY DO WE BELIEVE

6
6
7
7

IN ATOMS?

The place of models


Early speculations
The evidence from crystals
X-ray diffraction by crystals
Solid to liquid to gas
Evidence from the oil-drop experiment
Evidence from Brownian motion
Support for the model from a consideration
pressure
Evidence from diffusion
Powerful evidence from chemistry
Conclusion

I APPENDIX

9
10
10
11

reg
as
on
tha
as

diff
Ast,
mv
disr

of
12
13
13
14

MC~
Ast.
sam
spec
I

THE EVIDENCE

FOR CHARGED

PARTICLES

What we learn from electrostatics


Electrostatic charge and current electricity
IONS

A new model
Ions in liquids
Ions produced
Ions produced
Ions produced
THE THERMIONIC

of the atom
by a flame
by radioactive radiations
by a hot filament
EFFECT

The diode
Uses of the triode
Other experiments
Conclusion
THE MILLIKAN

with thermionic

vacuum tubes

EXPERIMENT

The experiment
The theory of the experiment
Result of the experiment
Conclusion
THE MASS OF THE ELECTRON

The fine-beam tube


The speed of the electrons
The force on the electrons due to the magnetic field
Calculation of e/ m
The mass of the electron

15
15
16

POS:I

ene:
T'
off
elec'
gun
acce
dire!
ion
I

17
17
17
18
19
21
22
22
25
25
29
30
31
32
33
33
34
34
35
36
38
38

awa

hot filament
ELECTRON

GUN

--',

39
39
39
40
40

THE MASS OF THE ATOM

Mass of the proton


The Avogadro constant
Mass spectrometers
Isotopes
1.1. THOMSON AND THE ELECTRON

Cathode rays
Measurement of e/ m
The electron as a constituent
MODELS OF THE ATOM

Nuclear model of the atom


The Bohr model of the atom
The wave-mechanical
model
The future
aratus was developed in 1919 by
of positive ions is again deflected
.netic fields in a highly evacuated
I

photographic
plate

ELECTRONS AT WORK

of all matter

42
42
44
45
46
46
48
50

51
52
52

The cathode-ray oscilloscope


The television tube
The X-ray tube

56
57

APPENDIX: MASS SPECTROMETERS

59

WHY DO WE
BELIEVE IN
ATOMS?

You have grown up believing in the existence of atoms.


We have all heard of the atomic bomb. We all know
that atoms exist. But why do we believe in them? The
most probable reason is that we have read about them
in papers and books, that we have heard about them on
the radio or television, that people talk about them so
much that we have come to believe in them ourselves.
But no good scientist will take things like this on trust:
we should look for evidence.

wd
can'
ate

':'More detail is
included here than
will be necessary
for an O-level
course. It is included
for general interest.

THE PLACE OF MODELS


The story is not a simple one. There is not one conclusive experiment you can do to prove the existence of
atoms. But we get a clue about atoms from studying
matter and this clue enables us to suggest a model of
what matter is like. We can start thinking about the
model, and this may lead us to expect certain consequences which can then be put to the test. If we find
these consequences are confirmed by experiment, this
provides further evidence in support of the model.
You cannot ever prove that a model is correct; all
you can do is to go on collecting more and more
evidence which supports it. You can go on believing it
is valid until you find evidence that contradicts it. It is
at that point that you have either to abandon the model
or modify it to fit the new evidence. But models do
not have to be correct in all respects to be useful. Provided one knows how far one can safely go, models
known to be incomplete may be extremely valuable as
we shall see later in this book.
A good theory is one which can be put to the test.
Newton's theory of gravitation
was a good theory;
many deductions could be made from it and these were
confirmed by experiment. None of these experiments,
however, proved that the theory was true in the sense
that a geometrical theorem can be proved. Newton's
theory was, nevertheless, accepted until an experiment
showed that it had limitations (although it is still useful
within these). A new theory of gravitation, Einstein's,

T I'
'U.

APPENDIX:
MASS
SPECTROMETERS~::

ficl.
ena
J
deft

mat

a d:
slos
disr

thrr
ver'
pas'
deft!
appl
field,
1

ions
~I

H'I
on t
the [,
,I
P hot
shos
t igNe and i6Ne are isotopes of neon they both have the same place in the
periodic table and are the same as far
as chemical properties are concerned.
Both have 10 electrons round the
nucleus and a charge of + 10 units on
the nucleus. Each nucleus therefore
contains 10 protons.
The nucleus of
2Ne, however, has 10 neutrons whereas
that of 22Ne has 12, thereby accounting
for the difference in mass. In ordinary
neon, there are 9 parts of 2Ne to 1
part of 22Ne and this gives an average
mass of 20.2 units.

T'ii

gas
heav
ence
same
wore!
mass!
'isos
para,
1

you ',

----

--------

sic controls on a modern X-ray


ase the filament current and this
Cl ber of electrons
given off and
the X-rays. You can also increase
Jige between the filament and the
ncrease causes an increase in the
bns when they hit the target, and
of higher energy will be given off.
~e an X-ray photograph
of the
Ie, you need X-rays of greater
led for a photograph of the hand.
~;[ X-rays in diagnostic work in
emphasis here. It is the moving
~hich makes it all possible. The
uit of knowledge discovered the
?plication of that knowledge has
ankind.

WHY DO WE
BELIEVE

IN

ATOMS?

--

was proposed. The evidence now supports this and it


will doubtless go on being accepted until it too has to be
superseded by another theory which gives us yet deeper
insight into the nature of the physical universe. It is
much the same with models.
Let us now look at the evidence that matter is made
of atoms.

EARLY SPECULATIONS
The first ideas about a particulate
nature of matter
came from the Greek philosopher Democritus, as recorded by the Roman poet Lucretius in his work De
Rerum Natura. But these ideas were little more than
speculations as they were unsupported by experimental
evidence. The rival speculation that matter was made
up of four basic elements - earth, air, fire and water was preferred to any idea of atoms for nearly two
thousand years.

THE EVIDENCE
Granulated sugar

Fluorite

FROM

CRYSTALS
A lum crystal

-~

WHY DO WE
BELIEVE IN
ATOMS?

" If you have not already done so, look


at Crystals in this series.

Early in your course you will have studied crystals. '::


You will have noticed the regularity
of shape in
different kinds of sugar, in salt and other substances.
You will have seen what happens when you grow
crystals of alum and copper sulphate. You may perhaps
have seen crystals of salt or salol growing under a
microscope. The angles always seem to be the same for
the particular substance under consideration.

ELECTRON
AT WORK

A monochrome

Growth of crystals under a microscope

What could account for this regularity? One possible


explanation
is that the substances were made up of
basic building blocks; so it was that you came to a
model of matter made up of particles.
You found support for the model when you saw
crystals of calcite being cleaved. If the regular shape of
crystals meant that they were made up of layers of
particles, we might expect them to cleave along certain
planes and that is just what happened. So our model is
supported.
Cleaving calcite

.1

Cleaving a polystyrene

model

Bnt
hon
replittL
firstl

Tli

television tube

Cutaway view of a colour


tube (right)

television

troll.
at tJ
As tl
the s
dark
I

B:d
to tl:
a'm
film
sequ

THi~

l
Anon
is th.
hot
anod
the
prop:
anod
out .~
like
mucr

ages will deflect the spot, so that


'lown on the left. In the AC switch
'. voltage acts, so the trace is as
ic more facility on school oscillo,on the back of the oscilloscope.
,~re is superimposed
on the grid
page 24) and this changes the
streaming through the anode.
htness of the spot on the screen.
alternating
voltage at 20 Hz is
'ie, the brightness of the spot will
Ind. This facility is of considerable
ext device using electron streams

WHY
DO WE
BELIEVE
IN

ATOMS?

':'This is considered in greater detail


in Waves or Particles in this series.

X-RAY

DIFFRACTION

BY CRYSTALS

Very powerful evidence that solid matter consists of a


regular array of particles comes from X-ray diffraction
by crystals." If waves in a ripple tank strike a double
slit in a barrier there are certain definite directions in
which there are lines of constructive and destructive
interference.
If there is a series of regularly spaced
slits, there are again definite directions in which constructive interference
occurs. The same thing occurs
when light falls on regularly spaced lines (the diffraction grating).

'

'N TUBE
Ibasically a cathode-ray tube with
first moves the spot horizontally
rd then causes it to fly back very
d the line time-base and is just like
Ioscilloscope. The other is called
md this operates at the same time,
,re slowly down the screen until it
,e top again. In this way the spot
,f the screen as shown below. In
I

Ray of light falling on a diffraction


grating (left)

Laue spots (right)

C~O, -

If X-rays (like light waves but with a very much


smaller wavelength) are directed in a fine beam at a
crystal, there are definite directions in which constructive interference occurs and a series of dots representing
those directions is obtained on a photographic
plate.
constructive

~;:-:,,=-=-=-====-=-==-=~-

directions for
interference

--------,~-.========~---,--- - - - ~ - - ".:-:,,==-=-==-=-=-=~----------~------~,=-=-=~~--

I~

---

--

X-rays

~_-_-_-_-_-_.2.(_-_-_-_-_--~-'~-:

.~~~~~~~==~~~~.~'-,,~-

lead
photographic
plate

WHY DO WE
BELIEVE IN
ATOMS?

In all these experiments

the spacing must be regular for


constructive interference to occur. The crystal behaves
like a three-dimensional
'grating'. The fact that Laue
spots (named after Professor Laue who first suggested
crystal diffraction of X-rays) can be obtained provides
further strong evidence in support of our theory that
crystals are made of regularly spaced particles.

ELECTRONS
AT WORK

11
I

osci
sen,

SOLID

TO LIQUID

TO GAS

A very familiar property of matter is that a solid turns


to a liquid when sufficient heat energy is given to it;
when further heat energy is supplied, it turns to gas.
What does our model of matter made of particles say
about this?
Perhaps the heat energy supplied breaks some of the
bonds holding the particles together in the solid, so
that they can flow more freely. We know that liquids
can flow and you have probably seen how two dissimilar liquids placed one above the other in a cylinder
diffuse into each other.
When further energy is added, perhaps all the bonds
are broken and the particles move around quite freely.
If this happened we would expect the gas to occupy
a much larger volume than the solid - and that is
exactly what we find. Support for our model also comes
from the fact that a gas occupies all the space available to it. None of this proves that matter is made of
particles, but it does lend support to the idea.

EVIDENCE FROM THE OIL-DROP


EXPERIMENT
When you did this experiment, you took a very small
drop of oil G mm across) and put it on the surface of a
tray of water which had been dusted with lycopodium
powder. It spread out into a thin film on the surface.
If oil were made of 'continuous juice' and not of
particles, we might expect the layer of oil to go on
10

----

--

-----

COIl

volt'
r esi:

cud
pasi
that

o
,

sCOITl

rect:
up.

2V
50 HZ'i

a.c.

d.c.

01

" In practice it will be found that a very


slow a.c. signal (2 Hz or less) probably
will not show on the screen in the AC
switch position.
A t these very low
frequencies it may be necessary to use
the DC switch position.

Scl
swit
will
Wh~
and
som
It w

AC

belo
conn

~-~-~---

'e applied to the deflection plates,


'up or down depending on which
pplied. If a.c. voltages are applied
spidly up and down and a line will
,

,l.

WHY DO WE
BELIEVE IN
ATOMS?

spreading out more and more as it got thinner. But it


does not. The drop formed a circle (about 20 cm
across). This is similar to taking a quantity of lead shot
and pouring it on to a flat surface so that it forms an
area one lead shot thick.
This oil-drop experiment does not prove the existence of atoms, but the experiment does give us a
maximum value for the size of oil drop particles if they
do exist.
If the diameter

d.c. voltage
'applied to plates

be variable so that the frequency


.er a wide range. The voltage varia[Qebe as shown above: it is obvious
aw-tooth voltage.
at 50 Hz (50 cycles per second) is
-plates and the time-base
is not
[race will be as (i) opposite. If the
.ed on at a frequency of 25 Hz, the
~ (ii); if the time-base frequency is
s in (iii); if the time-base frequency
e as in (iv).

of the drop was ~ mm,


the volume =

a.c. voltage
applied to plates

:n oscilloscope is a time-base circuit.


sadily increasing
voltage to the
,t deflect the spot horizontally)
so
's across the screen at a steady rate
ooint, the voltage flies back to its
~e spot consequently returns rapidly
'The flyback time should be as short
usual for an internal arrangement
(ss' the ftyback trace so that it is not
.metimes see the flyback trace if the
d up to its maximum value.) The

------

If the diameter

(1)3

4
:3'[ 4" mm '

of the circle was 20 em,


the area = n(100)2 mrn"

If x is the thickness

of the oil film in mm, then


n:; 104 xx-_ 4x43 1

And this gives x = 3 X4;X 104

2 X 10-6mm

or 2x 1O-7cm

Remember that this is only a crude estimate of size:


it is not easy to make precise measurements
and the
size of the oil drop is subject to a lot of error. But at
least this crude experiment gives an order of magnitude
to molecular size.
There is another complication in that the olive-oil molecule
is in fact nothing like a sphere: it is considerably elongated.
But at least the calculation gives an answer of approximately
the right size.

More precise experiments show that the size of an


atom is of the order of l Or=cm and this is a convenient
number to remember.

EVIDENCE

FROM

BROWNIAN

MOTION

You will be familiar already with the Brownian motion


experiment: smoke particles are put in a cell containing
air, illuminated from the side and viewed through alowpowered microscope. They are seen to be moving about

11

rapidly in a random fashion. This important experiment gives us direct evidence that gases, such as air,
consist of randomly moving small particles, too small
to be seen, though their effect is clearly visible in the
experiment when they buffet around the much larger
smoke particles in a random manner.

WHY DO WE
BELIEVE IN
ATOMS?

SUPPORT FOR THE MODEL FROM A


CONSIDERATION
OF PRESSURE
wall
molecule

If a ball hits a wall and bounces off it, a force is exerted


on the wall because of the change of momentum.
Likewise if a gas consists of fast-moving particles we
would expect it to exert a force on the walls of any
container and thus there would be a pressure.
One of the triumphs for our model is that if we apply
to these tiny particles in a gas the same laws of
mechanics that we have derived for large-sized objects
we can deduce an expression for the pressure in close
agreement with what is observed in practice.
We start by considering one gas particle hitting the
wall. The rate of change of momentum gives us the
force on the wall. We consider the effect of all the
particles, which gives the total force on the wall, and
dividing by the area we get the pressure. The theory';'
predicts that where p is the pressure, V the volume,
v the root mean square value of the particle velocities
and M the total mass of gas, p V = iMv2.
If the assumption is made that the kinetic energy of
the particles is constant at a particular temperature,
it follows from the above that the product of the pressure and the volume is a constant for a given mass of
gas. But Boyle discovered experimentally that this product is a constant if the temperature
is kept constant
and provided the pressure does not get too big.
Although we must not lose sight of the fact that an
extra assumption
was made, it is encouraging
that
our model has thus predicted a result which is confirmed by experiment.

~~~~~=====~~=~=~.

':'This theory is considered in greater


detail in Kinetic Theory in this series.

12

the
and
oscill

not focussed

Bel
I

usual,
a por
the b
and
will

focussed

FOCUf
not focussed

Ins'
lng p
the 0
the VI
to bel
if it n
volt 21
and f
order'
for a:
A vol

volt/em

10.
20

.0.5
-0.2

'I now been concerned with the


:towards a deeper understanding
i1Y electron may have seemed an
,ademic exercise. On the contrary,
inually being put to our use. The
responsible for all the electrical
nuch for granted in our daily life.
.he sending-out and reception of
IJt it a car engine would not work
:'ould be impossible.
Its motion
with heat and light at the touch of

EVIDENCE

npossible task in this short chapter


[obs the electron does, but we shall
itain devices which make use of
'ride of place will be given to that
the physicist,
the cathode-ray
'for short), which will be found in
,itory in the world.
l'

:-RAY OSCILLOSCOPE

a hot cathode gives off electrons


led towards an anode with a central
IS through and travel to the coated
resces, or glows, when and where

" For this treatment,


Theory.

see also Kinetic

FROM

DIFFUSION

The model suggests that the gas particles are in rapid


motion. The above formula enables us to deduce the
average speed of the particles at a particular temperature. For air at atmospheric
pressure and room
temperature the speed is about 500 m/s, You saw in the
diffusion of bromine gas into air how the particles of
bromine gradually mix amongst the air molecules,
explained by the random motion of the gas. At first
sight the rate of diffusion seems slow in view of the high
speed calculated above, but this is because the gas
particles do not travel far in anyone direction without
a collision, so that diffusion takes time.
If by contrast the bromine is released into a vacuum ,
the result is dramatic: one can well believe in a speed of
500 rn/s.
A detailed study of the diffusion of bromine into air"
leads to an estimate of molecular size in agreement
with other estimates, so this also provides further
evidence for our theory of a particulate
nature of
matter and tells us that our model of a gas consisting of
particles moving randomly at high speed is not a bad
one.

Ising

deflecting
plates

Iii
J:l
,~~-L:5rLJ------------------ccelerati

ng

node
fluorescent screen

H. The brightness of the spot will


nber of electrons striking the screen.
lolled by a grid near the cathode: if
I

POWERFUL
CHEMISTRY

EVIDENCE

FROM

So far all our evidence for atoms comes from physical


considerations.
But we must not forget what chemistry
has to say. One of the joys of studying science is when
we find evidence from one branch supports our studies
in another.
The chemists find, for example, that water is made up
of hydrogen and oxygen, that common salt is made up
of sodium and chlorine and that nitrogen can be combined with oxygen in a variety of different ways. They
find for example when combining nitrogen and oxygen
that the masses are in the ratio 28: 16,14: 16 or 28:48.
They find it convenient to postulate the existence of
13

WHY DO WE
BELIEVE IN
ATOMS?

atoms which can be combined to form molecules and


this suggests that the mass of a nitrogen atom to the
mass of an oxygen atom is in the ratio 14: 16 and that
the atoms combine in the ratio 2: 1 (conveniently
written N20), 1: 1 (NO) or 2: 3 (N20a).
The chemists therefore support our theory of a particulate nature of matter and from them we shall adopt
the idea that the particles consist either of atoms or
combinations of atoms which we call molecules.

MODELS OF
THE ATOM

thosmod:
inste
dista'
knov
ener~
the p,
belox
dista:
I

CONCLUSION
All this evidence - and much
the atomic model of matter.
that it is correct and see where
let us try to find out what is

more besides - supports


Let us therefore assume
it leads us. In particular,
inside the atom.

THE'
I

The i'
claim
the fiC]
which'
I

Physic
the uh

14

----

-------

_.-

--

------

--_._---

WHAT WE LEARN FROM


ELECTROSTATICS

THE EVIDENCE
FOR CHARGED
PARTICLES

CHANICAL

You have experienced


the crackling when a comb
becomes charged as it is pulled through hair or when
a nylon garment is pulled off. You know that a polythene strip becomes charged when rubbed, as also does
a cellulose acetate one. Your work in the laboratory
will have shown that when two conducting spheres are
hung up side by side and each is touched by a rubbed
polythene strip they repel each other. Similar repulsion
is seen when the spheres are touched by a rubbed cellulose acetate strip.

MODEL

, easy to understand and is merely


,'le sake of completeness. It would
Ile impression that the Bohr model
Lory, because the wave-mechanical
'laced it. Do not worry about any
.model.)
iliscovered that electrons could be
'words it was shown that electrons
;;s even though it was 'proved' by
.nt that they consisted of particles.
Iuality is one of the strange things
'sics: electrons are shown by one
,:sist of particles,
by another to
Chis is a fact of life which has to be
sough at first it sounds
selfFe thought of as waves, how will this
.of the atom? Bohr's model of the
, model because it was useful and
:'urther understanding
of the atom.
strange hypotheses made by Bohr
laving certain definite orbits with
~rgy states. It was the new model of
as a result of Schrodingers
work
.the clue to why these energy states
I

appropriate to describe in detail this


'odel of the atom, but suffice it to
leI, based on the idea of electrons
f'ell as particle properties, has now
model as it has usefully explained
I

,I

/\ /\ \/

-7

spheres both touched


by polythene strip

-7

spheres both touched


by cellulose acetate strip

~~

one sphere touched


by polythene, one by
cellulose acetate

But when one of the spheres is touched by a rubbed


polythene strip and the other by a rubbed cellulose
acetate strip the spheres are attracted to each other.
This suggests that charge is of two kinds, which we call
positive and negative. Positive charge repels positive
charge, negative charge repels negative charge, but
unlike charges attract. In fact the polythene strip becomes negatively
charged
when rubbed and the
cellulose acetate strip positive.
The gold-leaf
electroscope
is a useful tool in
investigating charge. When charge is deposited on the
insulated plate, it spreads over the plate and the gold
leaf, and because like charges repel each other the
leaf rises.
If a positively charged rod is brought near the plate
of a positively charged electroscope,
it will repel the
positive charge on the top of the electroscope and the
leaf will rise more. If a negatively charged rod is
brought up it will attract the positive charge and the
leaf will fall.

[!][!]
+++

+++++++

+++++

~[!J

15

THE EVIDENCE
FOR CHARGED
PARTICLES

An electroscope can be charged positively by connecting the plate to the positive terminal of a battery
or a power supply, at the same time connecting the
outer case to the negative terminal. (This should give
you a clue as to how you could confirm that a cellulose
acetate strip is positively charged and a polythene rod
negatively charged.) A high voltage is necessary to get
the leaf to rise. When the leaf is fully up there may be
a potential difference of 1000 or more volts, though it
depends on the design of the electroscope.

ELECTROSTATIC
CHARGE
CURRENT ELECTRICITY

MODELS OF
THE ATOM

SOOI

cea
ato
orbi

AND

Is there some connection


between this electrostatic
charge and current electricity? This can be shown by
charging up a van der Graaff generator and then discharging
it to Earth through a current-measuring
instrument. Alternatively you can charge the sphere of
the van der Graaff generator continuously and get a
continuous discharge through a delicate meter. You

I
I
I

('
"

Th

mod:
essen'
the ni,
any G
corre

assun
with
energ
from'
Typic'
oppos

MaD

may also have seen a similar experiment in which a


table-tennis
ball, coated to make it conducting,
is
suspended between two plates as illustrated above.
When the van der Graaff generator is operating the
ball moves rapidly from one plate to the other, carrying
charge across the gap, and the galvanometer records a
current flowing.
From such experiments we accept that the flow of
electric charge is equivalent to a current.
16
L

toy th.
tiserne
contai

mea
unfort
IS

ments
a moe
1926 i
cussed
I

Imber of electrons and the same


lIt one extra neutron to bring the
uranium has 92 electrons in the
TI, 92 protons
in the nucleus to
Ii and 146 neutrons to bring the
'nits.

IIONsl

1 proton
0 neutron

A NEW MODEL

The charging of the polythene and cellulose acetate


strips, discussed in the previous section, might be due
to the duster used for rubbing them. But if a duster is
not used and the two strips are rubbed together, the
same thing happens: one becomes negative, the other
positive.
We might modify our model of the atom and think of
it as having a positive and a negative part, perhaps
something like:

1 electron outside nucleus

1
1 proton
1 neutron

OF THE ATOM

1 electron outside nucleus

8 protons
8 neutrons

a negative part
of the atom

8 electrons outside nucleus

16

a neutral atom
8 protons
9 neutrons

8 electrons outside nucleus

a positively charged
atom with a
negative part removed

117

92 protons

The neutral atom with a negative part knocked off is


usually referred to as a positive ion. The negative part,
or the neutral atom with a negative part added, is a
negative ion. The process of forming ions is called
ionisation. (We will see later that the negative part
knocked off is an electron.)
It is not suggested that the atom really does look like
this, but it is a convenient model which fits the facts
discussed so far, and we shall use it until we find the
need for a different model.

92 electrons outside nucleus

1146 neutrons
238
1

EL OF THE ATOM
Ins moving in orbits round the
Iattractive:
it was similar to the
hat each planet was kept in orbit
ce whereas in the atom it was the
(en the orbiting negative electron

r--------!1

11

:1----------,

i'/US.

,rer, a serious snag. If electrons


lin an aerial, they radiate energy.
~loving in a circle round a nucleus:
~ction, it would be moving up and
IJiating its energy away, it would
I

a neutral atom
with a negative part
added leaving
the whole negative

anode

cathode

~----1+

-_- _- CuSO. solution

=--=---

IONS

IN LIQUIDS

Early in your course you found that pure water


(distilled water) did not conduct electricity, but that it
became conducting when common salt was added to
it. Similarly an electric current could pass through
water which had copper sulphate crystals dissolved in
it. We can explain this passage of current by assuming
that positive and negative ions carry the current
through the liquid.
17

The positive ions are attracted


to the negative
electrode (the cathode) and the negative ions to the
positive electrode (the anode). At the electrodes they
either give up their charge or are neutralised by the
current from the battery.
When copper electrodes are used in a solution of
copper sulphate, the movement of the ions leads to a
deposit of pure copper on the cathode and the chemical
action which takes place at the anode when the
negative ions reach it leads to the copper being taken
from it. :;: (This has an important
application
in
purifying copper: the impure metal can be made the
anode and pure copper is deposited on the cathode.)
The presence of ions in a liquid solution is also
illustrated by passing a current through water containing a little sulphuric acid. Positive and negative ions
are again
responsible
for carrying
the current
through the liquid. The positive ions are attracted to
the cathode, where they are neutralised by the current
from the battery, producing hydrogen. The negative
ions travel to the anode, where they give up their
charge and the chemical action produces oxygen. The
two gases, hydrogen and oxygen, bubble up from the
cathode
and the anode respectively,
and can be
collected in apparatus similar to that shown on the left.

COl

the
.

SIZ'

for
.

mg

cell
SUt
size of atom
("-'1 Q-,om)

3 X'
Thi
ofl
vol
nU'
,

the,
5 k
is (j
by ,
Hyl

carl
ural
eler
one,
ally,
,

nWIlI

" For details of the chemical reactions,


you should consult a chemistry textbook.

IONS

PRODUCED

18
----

-----

pos:
heli
8, .'

BY A FLAME

Positive and negative ions are produced in the air over


a Bunsen flame. For this reason a cool Bunsen flame is
a very good way of ensuring that a rod is discharged.
If a flame is waved over a polythene rod the ions produced will neutralise any charge on it.
A good demonstration
to show that a flame produces
both positive and negative ions can be given using a
candle, above and on either side of which are put two
vertical plates. One plate is connected to the positive
terminal of a high-voltage supply, the other to the
negative terminal. If a strong light source is set up so
that the shadows caused by the currents of air above

----

wit

MODELS OF
THE ATOM

193~
prot
app:

char
and,
atom
clcc
has:
tons,
that,
mas:
,

~he atom pictured it as consisting


part. This was sufficient to
After the discovery of
came to picture the atom as

:'phere, positively
charged,
with
Imbedded in it: the 'plum pudding'
iccepted until Rutherford replaced
I

,)EL OF THE ATOM

the flame are visible on a screen it will be noticed that


they divide as the positive ions are attracted to the
negative plate and the negative to the positive.

nuclear model began in 1909 when


n were investigating what happened
Ipha particles were directed at gold
~J1t
a small proportion of the particles
ough angles greater than 90. As
'ng afterwards,
this was 'almost as
had fired a IS-inch shell at a piece
d it came back and hit you'. The
-as small (only 1 in 8000 through an
\ 90), but it was characteristic
of
,[eciate the significance of these few.
uch large-angle scattering could be
clealpha particles were able to move
I

'rticles

deviation of alpha particles


in Rutherford atom

IONS PRODUCED
RADIATIONS

BY RADIOACTIVE

A match held near a charged electroscope will cause it


to be discharged
because of the ions it produces.
Similarly a radioactive source, such as a radium one,

held near an electroscope


that it produces ions.

will discharge

it, showing

J. J. THOMSON
AND THE
ELECTRON

The "
had
men
mass
hydr
'prim

THE'

OF )',
Th(,
the s
tube
was rr
the el'
matte,
his w
electr.
electr'

Track of an alpha particle

In

Track of a beta particle

in 19([~
Royal'
TrinitJ
in 194
he was
his dis
r

Drops formed in pairs

In a cloud chamber a radioactive source produces


ions on which water drops condense, producing the
well-known tracks. The first photograph above shows
the dense tracks produced by alpha particles; the less
dense tracks produced by beta particles (which produce
less ions for the water to condense on) are shown in the
second photograph.
The third photograph
is an
interesting beta track: many droplets in this magnified
picture are in pairs. Ionisation produces both positive
20

---

~- -

--~ ~-~

-~-

Ie

OF elm

his experiments in
c were deflected
.etween plates d and e. The defleca the screen was measured." A
I

by describing

and negative ions on which water can condense


this explains why the droplets form in pairs. ,;:

and

.s from a cathode

"Iuced by coils placed around the


nmposed so that the spot was no
::sexperiment enabled Thomson to
Ity of the particles and hence to
[m, where e is the charge and m the
de ray particle. From his experit. the value of e/ m was independent
gas in the discharge tube and that
larger than that of the hydrogen
.rolysis. This could be due either to
a smaller m. His paper continues:
I.

IONS

PRODUCED

BY A HOT FILAMENT

If a piece of resistance wire is coiled up and held near a


charged electroscope,
the electroscope
is again discharged when the resistance wire is heated by passing
a current through it. This discharge occurs whether
the electroscope
is either positively or negatively
charged. Ions are clearly being produced by the hot
filament. This may be due to something given off by the
hot filament or it may be due to air molecules hitting
the hot wire and becoming ionised. This is such an
important phenomenon
that we must consider it in
greater detail in the next section.
':'For further

details see Radioactivity

in this series.

ich seems to me to account in the most


ptard manner for the facts is founded on
oms of the different chemical elements
lions of atoms of the same kind. If, in
.ric field in the neighbourhood
of the
es of the gas are dissociated and are
Ie ordinary chemical atoms, but into
Ims which we shall for brevity call
these corpuscles
are charged with
ited from the cathode by the electric
ave exactly like cathode rays.
lIe have in cathode rays matter in a new
~division of matter is carried very much
tcdinary gaseous state; a state in which
'matter derived from different sources
'gen, etc. - is of one and the same kind;
'substance from which all the chemical
I

made measurements

of the charge e.
21

THE
THERMIONIC
EFFECT

The evidence discussed


already encourages
us to
believe that it is the flow of electric charge which is
equivalent to an electric current. It is suggested that in
liquids it is the flow of both positive and negative ions
which is responsible for the current. But what happens
in a metal? Is it positive charge or negative charge,
or both, that is flowing? At this stage we have no
evidence to help us decide, but later experiments with
the Hall effect tell us that in most metallic conductors
the current is due to the flow of negative charge.
If charge is flowing in a conducting wire, could we
get the charge out of the wire by some means? We can
get water vapour out of water by heating it and this
suggests that we might try heating a wire to see if we
can get the charge out. An experiment to do this was
described at the end of the last section. The hot wire
certainly caused the electroscope
to discharge, but it
would do so whether the electroscope was positively
or negatively charged and there is some confusion
about how the ions are produced in the air. To find out
if any charge comes out of the hot wire, we must
investigate it in a vacuum.

cathode

shadow

Crookes' Maltese-cross

tube

Mag:
Th
in th
the
these!
Gem
aethe
their,
hithe,
that,
whol,
of m:
first
betw;
not t'
studio'
theor'
I

ro-~500V 1

r------'

The tube shown above contains a filament which can


be made white hot when 6.3 volt is put across it. It also
contains an isolated plate. Because it contains two
electrodes, the filament and the plate, such a tube is
referred to as a diode.
22

year

wer:
It ~)
His'

THE DIODE

1-------1

whe
Sir'
that'
due
trav,
radi

Thomson's

original apparatus

':'In th:d
which et

'it be complete without reference to


whom is ascribed the discovery of
l!as born in 1856, went to Owens
cr, and then to Trinity College,
age of twenty-eight he succeeded
:avendish Professor of Physics. It
appointment
and remarks were
boys being made professors'. But
on's professorship,
the Cavendish
nbridge became perhaps the most
n the world.
I

11

Plate voltage
VA/volt

-200
-150
-100
- 50

50
100
150
200
250
300
350
400

450
500

Current fA/
milliampere

0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.2

To investigate
what is happening
a voltage is
applied between the plate and the filament. These
readings are typical for such a tube.

0.6
1.6
2.2
2.5
2.6
2.7

2.8
2.8
2.8

300

200

100

100

200

300

400

500

VA/V

either

'S
study of cathode rays that J. J.
suggest the existence of electrons.
[he was born the German physicist
roduced a vacuum pump capable of
S,; much
lower than had ever been
rch a pump enabled Geissler's friend
, that electricity could flow through
rLtowhich electrodes had been fixed,

I t is seen first that no current flows through the


milliammeter when the plate is negative relative to the
filament. But a current flows as soon as the plate is
made positive. In other words, current will flow only
one way through the tube. Just as valves in bicycle
tyres and in water pumps are constructed so that the
air and water can only flow one way, this tube which
only allows current to pass one way also came to be
known as a valve. (Somewhat illogically, the word diode
is now often used for a semiconductor
device which
only allows current to pass through it one way: valve
would be more appropriate
but is never used.)
The fact that an electric current only flows when the
plate is positive suggests at first sight that something
negative is being given off by the hot filament and that
this negative charge moves to the positive plate, carrying the current.
But there could be another explanation. It could be
that the light from the hot filament hits the positive
plate, causing it to give off positive charge which
travels through the tube towards the filament (negative
relative to the plate). We must therefore devise some
experiment
to decide whether it is negative charge
23

-----------

THE
THERMIONIC
EFFECT

moving to the left as shown in the first diagram or


positive charge moving to the right.
The crucial test comes when we introduce a grid into
the tube between the filament and the plate.
Suppose the current is due to negative charge. If the
grid IS made positive, it would encourage negative
charge to move to the plate and we would expect the
current to increase. If the grid is made negative, it would
discourage the negative charge from flowing and the
current would fall.
On the other hand, suppose the current is due to
positive charge. If the grid is made positive, it would
discourage the flow of positive charge and the current
would fall, the opposite to the above. If the grid is made
negative, it would encourage positive charge and the
current would increase.

-----

%
9998

9976

002

004
020

~Li

79

~Li

921

9000
027

200
I"IB

973
800
950
989
074

=O - 25V

1.1
42
9962

0016
I

?N

}-----j

0--- 500V -II------..J

When the experiment is done, with a fixed voltage of


400 volt applied to the plate, the current readings are
as follows:
Grid Voltage/V

Current lm.A

+8
0.8

+4
0.6

o
0.4

-4
0.2

-8
0.04

This confirms that the current must be due to negative


charge flowing from the filament to the plate.
That negative charge or negative ions are released
from the hot filament when it is heated led to this being
called the thermionic effect. In fact, as we shall see later,
it is electrons that are emitted and they are often
referred to as thermionic electrons from the nature of
24

038
f~Cl

755

gCl

245

h you may have met in chemistry,


["the Avogadro constant. It is the
fS in a mole of any substance. In
or a mole to be taken to mean that
rial containing 6 X 1023 particles.
erature and pressure a mole of gas
ern", So you can make a rough
umber of molecules in the room in
,ing this. We are beginning to find
Ihe microphysical world.

METERS
he fine-beam tube can also be
'e ions in order to enable us to
lof atoms. The important difference
Ic fields necessary to produce the
be very much greater.
Mass
enable this to be done are disstail in the Appendix on page 59.

ometers we can find the masses of


rd it was such work that showed
pes - atoms which have the same
(in other words have the same
table) but different masses.
bs, for example, that chlorine has a
Is of 35.5. The mass spectrometer
rmally a mixture of chlorine with
lie with mass 37, giving merely an
5.
naturally occurring isotopes are
hich the following are examples.
hsotope as ~f25U, the lower num ber
:~r,that is, the place in the periodic
rr.ber is the relative atomic mass.)
the relative abundance of each.

THE
THERMIONIC
EFFECT

their orrgm, though of course


from any other electrons.

they are no different

USES OF THE TRIODE


The fact that a small change in the voltage applied to
the grid can produce a large change in the current
through the tube led to the extensive use of the triode,
for example as an amplifier. The effect is particularly
pronounced
when the grid is placed near to the filament. The large tubes described here, which you will
have seen in your laboratory,
have been specially
designed
for teaching
purposes;
valves used in
electronic
equipment
are generally
much smaller
and more compact. The photograph on the left shows
a triode valve.
Valves, however, have now become almost obsolete
for most applications;
transistors
have taken their
place. Not only is the transistor smaller and more
robust, but it does not require any voltage supply to
heat a filament and it is consequently more efficient.

OTHER EXPERIMENTS
WITH
THERMIONIC
VACUUM
TUBES
You have probably seen the Maltese-cross tube. The
charge given off by the hot filament is accelerated
towards the anode, and passes through the hole in it.
A metal Maltese cross is fixed in the beam.
When the filament is heated to white heat, but before
the accelerating voltage is applied, an optical shadow
of the cross will be seen on the end of the tube due to
the light from the filament. When the voltage is applied
the end of the tube glows with a distinctive green glow
produced when the electrons hit the glass which is
coated with a fluorescent
material such as barium
platinocyanide.
A sharp image of the Maltese cross will
be apparent on the screen: the cross has obstructed the
electron flow.
25

THE
THE

THE
THERMIONIC
EFFECT

MASS
ATOM

OF

MA
The
page
hydr
byaj
pass'i
It is
hydr

rt
Ions.
a h\;

It is interesting

to bring a magnet near the beam.


The optical shadow is unaffected as a magnet has no
effect on light, but the shadow due to the electron beam
is easily deflected. The photograph
below shows the
two shadows.

':'C/ kg

coulombs per kilogramme.

usual
hydrl
the
corn
prot:
and
the
more
W
J

TH
In Y'
SUbSI'

mole
mole
28 g,
As
mole
2 X 1.
mole

26

r. Thus in time t he counts a total


and he says that the current is the
unit time, ne I t. But L = vt. So that

= ( nte) X vt = nev
discussed the force on the con7L, and this therefore equals Bnev.
ctrons in this length. Therefore the
loving charge is Bev.
1

THE
THERMIONIC
EFFECT

The tube illustrated below is based, on the original


experiment of the French scientist Perrin. The electrons
from the hot filament again pass through a perforated
anode and produce a fluorescent spot on the end of the
tube. At the side of the tube there is a small collecting
cylinder which can be connected through the output
terminal to an electroscope. The beam is deflected by
a magnetic field so that the electrons are collected in
the cylinder and it is found that the electroscope
becomes negatively charged.

OF elm

ictly what we needed. When the


a circle, the force on them, which
Eev. We have already shown on page

to our new equation,


Bev=~

mv'
r

e : 2V

m - B2r2

ng voltage, which can be measured


is found with a current balance as
is the radius of the electron path and
This enables us to calculate elm.
epted value of elm is 1.76x 1011
r.mme.

, THE ELECTRON
elm. The Millikan experiment told
10-19 coulomb. From these two we
e ofm.
.60 X 10-19
9 X 10-:1l kg
.76xl011
bly agree that it is remarkable to be
Juething as small as this.

Another
interesting
tube is illustrated
below, in
which there is a vertical screen set inside the tube at a
slight angle. The anode has a horizontal slit in it.
This results in a horizontal line along the centre of the
screen when the electron beam strikes it. (Can you see
27

THE MASS OF
TH E ELECTRON

two c
the el
and
suspe
in wa
the b
wire
Whefj

iF

J\

lmg

deflecting
voltage

~
from the drawings opposite why the screen is inclined?)
Above and below the screen are two horizontal plates.
If a potential difference is applied between the plates
so that the lower plate is positive relative to the top,
there will be a downwards electric force on the moving
negative charge, which will move in a curved path.
As the force is a constant downward force (as long as
the electrons are in the field) and as the electrons
initially move in a horizontal direction, the path will
be a parabola, exactly as it is a parabolic path for a
ball moving horizontally
under the influence of a
constant downward gravitational force.

oomlllm911
parabolic path

circular path

You know already that if a current flows in a wire at


right angles to a magnetic field there will be a force on
it at right angles both to the current and to the magnetic
field. A similar force will act on a stream of electrons
which moves at right angles to a magnetic field, even
though the charge is flowing in space and not along a
wire. This can be demonstrated
with the above tube.
It is convenient to produce a uniform magnetic field
28

= BIL

mg = F = BIL
B = mg
IL

balan
(a rid
adjust
mass
currc

measi
Ho
badly
a wire
in the
folIo

at time

after ti

COJ

Suppr
charg
it is
speed
1m
the el
Awh,
some
v. In

THE ELECTRONS
:~TIC FIELD
I

by putting a coil on either side of the tube and passing


a current through them. The magnetic field is then
across the path of the electron stream, the force is at
right angles to the path and the beam will move either
upwards or downwards depending on the direction of
the field. This time the force is always at right angles to
the beam, so the path will be circular.

DUE

the electrons due to the magnetic


ions move in a circle whose radius
ledge of circular motion this means
mv?
F=-

:ay

In some
on the strength of the
fCO find out more about it we have
force on a current-carrying
conumetic field.
~r the experiment on the left. The
as at right angles to the magnetic
ltion of the current. It is found that
In the current and the length of the
ld. In other words,

no field applied

source

F=BIL
(in newtons), I is the current (in
ength (in metres) and B is a force
Ion the strength of the field. In later
ueasure of the strength of the field.
asure this force constant B? The
hown below. There are the same

field applied

Drawing
inclined

to show

why the screen is

CONCLUSION
This sequence

of experiments

tells us:

(1) that negative charge is given off by the hot filament,


(2) that it travels in straight lines (the Maltese-cross
experiment),
(3) that the charge can be deflected in both electric
and magnetic fields, whereas light cannot be deflected
in this way.
On the other hand, it has not told us that the charge
given off consists of particles. It could, for example,
have been a continuous 'juice'. The crucial experiment
which confirms that charge is particulate
(in other
words,
that electrons
exist) is discussed
in the
important section which follows.
29

THE MILLIKAN
EXPERIMENT

You may have seen in your laboratory an experiment


in which a light metallised sphere is suspended from a
light glass spiral spring between two large horizontal
plates. The sphere is charged and it hangs centrally
between the plates under the balancing forces of gravity
and the spring. If the sphere is negatively charged and a
potential difference is applied between the plates so
that the top plate is positive relative to the bottom,

the sphere will rise under the influence of this extra


force. The support for the spring must be lowered
slightly to bring the sphere back to the middle again.
The greater the voltage applied, the greater is this
electric force on the charged sphere, and the more the
support must be lowered. Similarly if the potential
difference is reversed, there will be a force downwards
on the sphere and the greater the voltage the greater
the force. This principle is used in the Millikan experiment in which a small charged drop is used instead of
the metallised sphere.
30

THE MASS OF
TH E ELECTRON

Ri
illust
unif
the
In a
the
the e
Ther
roun
diam

SUPli
the
COUhi

electl
b e ,:i.,;1.

Gmv2
kine
Thus
and t

~lectron is so small that it would be


measure it directly. But fortunately
deflection of electrons in magnetic
enable us to measure the value of
.n the electron divided by its mass.
~'1 very interesting
at first sight, but
ined with the value of e which we
'rn the Millikan experiment, we can
of m.

THE MILLIKAN
EXPERIMENT

'1M TUBE

-I.
I

Ibe, which we use in measuring e/ m,


'ment from which electrons are given
filament is a conical anode, such that
I/oltage is applied to it the electrons
I'apidly towards it and a fine beam
tole in the top so that they can travel
tube with a constant velocity.
ature of the fine-beam tube is that it
ln at very low pressure. When the
with the hydrogen they ionise it.
!ecombine afterwards, they give out
rat the path of the electrons is clearly
~. We do not see the electrons themere they have been, in much the same
ud chamber you are not seeing alpha
tracks.

THE EXPERIMENT
Millikan did his first experiment in 1913 with two metal
plates 16 mm apart. He sprayed oil drops through a
small hole in the top plate and in the process some
would
become
charged
by friction.
They were
illuminated
from the side and viewed through a
microscope as they fell under gravity. The fall of the
charged drops could be controlled by voltages applied
between the plates. His experiment
achieved two
things: it showed that electric charge always appeared
as a definite multiple of a single basic charge and it
enabled that basic charge to be measured.

upward force
due to electric field

charged drop

downward force
due to gravity

"

A version of the Millikan apparatus

" This version of the Millikan apparatus


can be seen in use in the Nuffield film
Are There Electrons? obtainable from
the Rank Film Library.

The apparatus
above is a school version of the
Millikan apparatus. :;: In this a potential difference V
applied between the plates is adjusted so that the
upward electrical force on a charged drop is exactly
equal and opposite to the downward force due to
gravity, and the drop neither rises nor falls.
Concentrating
on the one drop, it is briefly irradiated
by a radioactive source (Millikan used X-rays for this
31

THE MILLIKAN
EXPERIMENT

purpose). This may have the effect of changing the


charge on the drop (in fact, by knocking off or adding
one or more electrons). A different voltage is then
required to balance it. The experiment can be repeated
many times and a whole series of voltage readings
obtained depending on the different amount of charge
on the drop. A typical set of voltage readings when
studying one .drop is: 226,452,361,301,604,449,905,
303, 450, 1 805, 904 volt.
What is significant is that certain definite voltages
seem to occur rather than any arbitrary values. They
group together: 226; 301, 303; 361; 449,450,452;
604; 904, 905; 1 805. Let us look at this in more detail.

THE THEORY

F= Vq
d
Note that this agrees with what we found in the
experiment with the metallised sphere described at the
beginning of this section, namely that the greater V
the greater is the force F.
In the Millikan experiment with the oil drop, the
upward electric force is balanced by the downward
force due to gravity, namely mg.

32

From
For
consta
the sari
listed
I

REStJ
I

We ha.
we mu'
columnl

OF THE EXPERIMENT

If the potential difference between the plates is V, we


know that the energy transferred in taking charge q
from the lower plate to the top plate is Vq (from the
definition of a volt as 1 joule per coulomb).
We know there is an electric force F on the charge
drop. So we can also calculate the energy transferred
by saying that it is Fx d, where d is the distance apart
of the plates. (Normally we measure in SI units, so that
d will be in metres and F in newtons. The energy transferred, Fx d, will thus be in newtons X metres, i.e. in
joules, since a joule is 1 newton X 1 metre.) Thus Fd
must equal Vq. This gives us an expression for the force
on the charge drop, namely

Thus:

THE MILLIKAN
EXPERIMENT

mg= Vq
d

Withl
the last
values:
an intej.~
out to
whole-Ill
In ot
definite
and we
This co
'juice'.
I

From tr
the actul
be 1.60 II
is that i
charge

have the effect of changing the


lin fact, by knocking off or adding
ms). A different voltage is then
It. The experiment can be repeated
whole series of voltage readings
en the different amount of charge
.cal set of voltage readings when
: 226,452,361,301,604,449,905,
!wlt.
t is that certain definite voltages
Ir than any arbitrary values. They
; 301, 303; 361; 449, 450, 452;
Let us look at this in more detail.

I.

F THE EXPERIMENT
Irence between the plates is V, we
~y transferred in taking charge q
~,to the top plate is Vq (from the
as 1 joule per coulomb).
Ian electric force F on the charge
calculate the energy transferred
d, where d is the distance apart
Idly we measure in SI units, so that
td F in newtons. The energy translJS be in newtons X metres, i.e. in
is 1 newton X 1 metre.) Thus Fd
fives us an expression for the force
rnamely

'lees with what we found in the


metallised sphere described at the
Iction, namely that the greater V
r:e F.
xper iment with the oil drop, the
~e is balanced by the downward
namely mg.
I

mg=B1
d

THE MILLIKAN
EXPERIMENT

From which we find


For a single drop
constant, so that we
the same value. Let
listed above.

RESULT

that Vq = mgd.
in a particular apparatus mgd is a
would expect Vx q always to have
us now look again at the voltages

OF THE EXPERIMENT

We have set out the voltages in the first column. When


we multiply them by the whole numbers in the second
column we get the number in the third column.
Voltage V

Charge q

Vxq

1 805

904
905
604

1 805
1 808
1 810
1 812
1 808
1800

452
450
449
361
303
301

226

2
3
4
4
4
5
6
6
8

1 796

1 805
1 818
1 806
1 808

Within the limits of experimental error the values in


the last column are always the same. We notice the
values of the voltage are such that the charge is always
an integral multiple of one basic charge. q never turns
out to be a fraction of this charge, but is always a
whole-number
multiple of it.
In other words, charge always seems to come in
definite lumps. It suggests that charge is particulate
and we call this basic charge the charge on the electron.
This confirms that charge cannot be a continuous
'juice' .

CONCLUSION
From this type of experiment it is possible to calculate
the actual charge on the electron, and this is found to
be l.60 X 10-19 coulomb. But the most significant thing
is that it confirms the existence of this basic unit of
charge and that all charges are direct multiples of it.
33

THE MASS OF
TH E ELECTRON

The mass of the electron is so small that it would be


quite impossible to measure it directly. But fortunately
measurements of the deflection of electrons in magnetic
and electric fields enable us to measure the value of
e/ m, the charge on the electron divided by its mass.
This may not seem very interesting at first sight, but
when this is combined with the value of e which we
have obtained from the Millikan experiment, we can
calculate the value of m.

THE FINE-BEAM
l' fine

beam

~
300V::

---L-

,:\
:

I
I

rt]

conical
anode

filament

THE MILLIKAN
EXPERIMENT

THI~
MillS
plat:
sma~
wou
illu 'rlr
.]

mlCli

char
betv
thin;
as a,
erial

TUBE

The fine-beam tube, which we use in measuring e/ m,


contains a hot filament from which electrons are given
off. Above the hot filament is a conical anode, such that
when a positive voltage is applied to it the electrons
are accelerated
rapidly towards it and a fine beam
passes through a hole in the top so that they can travel
onwards into the tube with a constant velocity.
A particular feature of the fine-beam tube is that it
contains hydrogen at very low pressure. When the
electrons
collide with the hydrogen they ionise it.
When the ions recombine afterwards,
they give out
a faint light so that the path of the electrons is clearly
visible in the tube. We do not see the electrons themselves, merely where they have been, in much the same
way that in a cloud chamber you are not seeing alpha
particles but their tracks.

upward force
due to electric field

charged drop

downward force
due to gravity

A version of the Millikan apparatus


,

" This version of the Millikan apparatus


can be seen in use in the Nuffield film
Are There Electrons? obtainable from
the Rank Film Library.

Tl
Mill
appl
UpW

equa
grav
C(:
bYB.I
I

34

-~--------

in your laboratory an experiment


.etalliscd sphere is suspended from a
pring between two large horizontal
is charged and it hangs centrally
under the balancing forces of gravity
)lesphere is negatively charged and a
le is applied between the plates so
i is positive
relative to the bottom,

THE MASS OF
THE ELECTRON

,
se under the influence of this extra
rHt for the spring
must be lowered
.hc sphere back to the middle again.
voltage applied, the greater is this
the charged sphere, and the more the
lowered. Similarly if the potential
"sed, there will be a force downwards
d the greater the voltage the greater
,inciple is used in the Millikan experismall charged drop is used instead of
aere.

Round the tube are placed two large coils as


illustrated. When a current is passed through these, a
uniform magnetic field is produced at right angles to
the electron stream. Consequently the electrons move
in a circular path. The greater the current in the coils,
the greater the magnetic field, the greater the force on
the electrons and the greater the curvature of the path.
There will come a stage when the electrons can move
round in a complete circle inside the tube. The
diameter ofthis circle can be measured.

THE SPEED

OF ELECTRONS

Suppose the voltage applied between the filament and


the anode is V. This means that for a charge of 1
coulomb the energy transferred
is V joule. For an
electron with charge e coulomb the energy gained will
be Ve joule. This will therefore be the kinetic energy
Gmv2) of the electron if it leaves the wire with negligible
kinetic energy.
Thus
~mv2 = Ve
and this gives the velocity of the electron as
v=V2~e
35

THE MASS OF
THE ELECTRON

THE FORCE ON THE ELECTRONS


TO THE MAGNETIC
FIELD

DUE

by pu

CUL

acros:
right
upwalf
the fie
the be:
I

Suppose the force on the electrons due to the magnetic


field is F. The electrons move in a circle whose radius
is Y. From our knowledge of circular motion this means
that

This force depends in some way on the strength of the


magnetic field, and to find out more about it we have
to look first at the force on a current-carrying
conductor in such a magnetic field.
You will remember the experiment on the left. The
force on the wire was at right angles to the magnetic
field and to the direction of the current. It is found that
the force depends on the current and the length of the
conductor in the field. In other words,

no field

F=BIL
where F is the force (in newtons), I is the current (in
amperes), L is the length (in metres) and B is a force
constant dependent on the strength of the field. In later
work B is used as a measure of the strength of the field.
How can we measure this force constant B? The
apparatus used is shown below. There are the same

field applied
I

Drawing
inclined

to show

why the screen is

CON
This

se

(l) tha:
(2) that
experrn
(3) thai
and rna
in this

On t'
given d
have be
which
words,
imports
I

-=36

battery to
provide current
through coil

--I
I

THE MASS OF
TH E ELECTRON

iF

= BIL

i.,
~

~
= F = BIL
B = mg

mg

'pposite why the screen is inclined?)


le screen are two horizontal plates.
'ence is applied between the plates
ilate is positive relative to the top,
rwards electric force on the moving
Ihich will move in a curved path.
.nstant downward force (as long as
lin the field) and as the electrons
horizontal direction, the path will
~~tlyas it is a parabolic path for a
cntally under the influence of a
gravitationa I f orce.
.,

7\

IL

two coils producing the magnetic field which deflected


the electrons, but the fine-beam tube has been removed
and a current balance put in its place. (The washer
suspended by cotton from the end of the balance hangs
in water with a little detergent in it, and helps to damp
the balance, so that it does not sway too easily.) The
wire frame is balanced without the magnetic field.
When the field is switched on, the force acts and the
balance is destroyed. A small piece of copper wire
(a rider) is added to the wire frame and the current is
adjusted so that the balance is restored. As we know the
mass of the rider, the force can be calculated. As the
current I can be found with an ammeter and L can be
measured, we have a value for the force constant B.
However, there is one thing more we need very
badly. We have considered the force on a current in
a wire. We now need to find the force on a single electron
in the magnetic field, and this important step needs the
following argument.
I observer

-lA

watching

here

n electrons
B

at time 0
L
A

after time t
L

circular path

Iy that if a current flows in a wire at


Ignetic field there will be a force on
h to the current and to the magnetic
ce will act on a stream of electrons
ht angles to a magnetic field, even
lis flowing in space and not along a
demonstrated with the above tube.
produce a uniform magnetic field

./

Consider a section AB of the wire of length L.


Suppose there are n electrons in this length each with
charge e, and that when there is a current I in the wire
it is due to the electrons moving along the wire with
speed v.
Imagine an observer at the point shown who counts
the electrons as they pass him. An electron which is at
A when the observer starts counting will pass him after
some time t, having travelled the distance L with speed
v. In that time t all the n electrons in AB will have
37

passed the observer. Thus in time t he counts a total


charge of ne passing and he says that the current is the
charge flowing per unit time, nett, But L = vt. So that
IL

=(

nte) X vt = nev

We have already discussed the force on the conductor as being BIL, and this therefore equals Bnev.
But there are n electrons in this length. Therefore the
force on a single moving charge is Bev.

CALCULATION

THE
THERMIONIC
EFFECT

T~,I
expe
from
ano~il
tube
cylin
term
a me;
the
becol
l

OF elm

Now we have exactly what we needed. When the


electrons move in a circle, the force on them, which
mv?
equals (-, will be Bev. We have already shown on page
r

35 that v=
Substituting

2~e.

this into our new equation,


Bev=-

we find that

mv'
r

e : 2V
m-

B2 2

V is the accelerating voltage, which can be measured


with a voltmeter. B is found with a current balance as
described above. r is the radius of the electron path and
can be measured. This enables us to calculate elm.
The generally accepted value of elm is 1.76x 1011
coulomb per kilogramme.

THE MASS

OF THE ELECTRON

The above gives us elm. The Millikan experiment told


us that e was 1.60 X 10-19 coulomb. From these two we
can calculate a value of m.
19
Thus
m = 1.60 X 10- - 9 X 10-:)1 kg
1.76x1011 and you will probably agree that it is remarkable
able to measure something as small as this.
38

to be

Ani

whicJI
slight
This
scree]
I

THE MASS
THE ATOM

to bring a magnet near the beam.


is unaffected as a magnet has no
the shadow due to the electron beam
I The photograph
below shows the

OF

':'Cjkg = coulombs per kilogramme.

MASS

OF THE PROTON

The experiment on electrolysis already mentioned on


page 18 enables a value to be calculated of e/ M for
hydrogen ions. We find how much hydrogen is released
by a certain current in a definite time. The charge that
passes can be calculated as it equals the current X time.
It is found in such an experiment that 1.008 kg of
hydrogen is released by 96.5 million coulomb.
This gives a value of 95.7x lOG C/kg for hydrogen
ions. ,;:We now believe that a hydrogen ion consists of
a hydrogen atom which has lost an electron; it is
usually called a proton. The positive charge of the
hydrogen is thus numerically equal to the charge of
the electron: e is the same for both. We can therefore
compare the mass of the electron with the mass of the
proton, since e/ m for the electron is 1.76 X lO!' C/kg
and e/ M for a proton is 95.7 X lOG C/kg. This shows that
the mass of the electron is only about 1/2 000 (or
more accurately 1/1 840) of the mass of the proton.
We can summarise our knowledge as follows:
1.60 X 10-19 C

Charge of electron
Mass of electron

9 X 10-31 kg

Mass of proton

1.67

Mass of electron
Mass of proton

1840

THE AVOGADRO

10-27 kg

CONSTANT

In your chemistry you will have heard of 1 mole of a


substance. The mass of 1 mole equals the relative
molecular mass of the substance in grammes. Thus 1
mole of hydrogen has a mass of 2 g, 1 mole of nitrogen
28 g, and 1 mole of oxygen 32 g.
As there are two hydrogen atoms in a hydrogen
molecule,
the mass of one hydrogen
molecule is
2 X 1.67 X 10-27 kg. We can now deduce the number of
molecules in 1 mole of hydrogen. This is
2 g
2 X 1.67 X 10-2-1 g

6 X lO>' molecules

per mole
39

---

---

--

--

--

--

THE MASS OF
THE ATOM

This number, which you may have met in chemistry,


is usually known as the Avogadro constant. It is the
number of molecules in a mole of any substance. In
fact it is now usual for a mole to be taken to mean that
quantity of any material containing 6 X 1023 particles.
At standard temperature and pressure a mole of gas
occupies 22.4 X 103 ern". So you can make a rough
calculation of the number of molecules in the room in
which you are reading this. We are beginning to find
our way around in the microphysical world.

MASS

SPECTROMETERS

The principle of the fine-beam tube can also be


extended to positive ions in order to enable us to
measure the masses of atoms. The important difference
is that the magnetic fields necessary to produce the
deflections
have to be very much greater.
Mass
spectrometers
which enable this to be done are discussed in greater detail in the Appendix on page 59.

THE
THERMIONIC
EFFECT

USE

The fl
the g
throul
for
prone
ment.
have
desigr
electr.
and
a trioValfor
place.
robust
heat a
I

ISOTOPES
By using mass spectrometers we can find the masses of
individual atoms and it was such work that showed
the existence of isotopes - atoms which have the same
chemical properties
(in other words have the same
place in the periodic table) but different masses.
The chemists tell us, for example, that chlorine has a
relative atomic mass of 35.5. The mass spectrometer
reveals that it is normally a mixture of chlorine with
mass 35 and chlorine with mass 37, giving merely an
average value of 35.5.
Large numbers of naturally occurring isotopes are
known to exist, of which the following are examples.
(When denoting an isotope as ~f25U, the lower number
is the atomic number, that is, the place in the periodic
table; the upper number is the relative atomic mass.)
The percentages give the relative abundance of each.
40

OTH
THE
You
charge
towarr
A met
Whe'
the ac.
of the
the ligJ
the em
produc
coated
platina'
be app
electro.
I

------

as shown In the first diagram or


ving to the right.
tomes when we introduce a grid into
:e filament and the plate.
r;;nt is due to negative charge. If the
ive, it would encourage negative
the plate and we would expect the
IIf the grid is made negative, it would
ative charge from flowing and the
I
nd, suppose the current IS due to
Ithe grid is made positive, it would
of positive charge and the current
site to the above. If the grid is made
bncourage positive charge and the
'lise.
=O - 25V

iH

9998

I~GO

9976

1"12S
,,0 n

11

~~O}Pb

15

iH

002

1~70

004

114Sn
[)O

08

~,?:?Pb

236

1.~80

020

115S
:;0 n

OA

~,?;Pb

226

I}GS
,,0 n

155

~~028Pb

523

TgNe

9000

1_17Sn
,,0

91

nNe

027

118Sn

225

1_19S
n
.,0

98

1_20Sn
,,0

285

~Li

79

~Li

921

lOB
s

200

\IB

800

2C

lG

3C

16

4N

17

?N

989
1 1

9962

[)O

76Ne

nS

973

950

liS

074

1_22Sn
,,0

55

nS

42

\204Sn

68

f~S

0016

~;J24U

0006

~~}U

0720

~~}'U

99274

038
r~CI

755

nCI

245

I ~O---50ov-1t----roooJ

1_

IJlentis done, with a fixed voltage of


the plate, the current readings are
+8
0.8

+4
0.6

o
0.4

-4
0.2

-8
0.04

he current must be due to negative


I the filament to the plate.
irge or negative ions are released
t when it is heated led to this being
effect. In fact, as we shall see later,
are emitted and they are often
uonic electrons from the nature of
! ..

41

J. J. THOMSON
AND THE
ELECTRON

This book would not be complete without reference to


J. J. Thomson, to whom is ascribed the discovery of
the electron. He was born in 1856, went to Owens
College, Manchester,
and then to Trinity College,
Cambridge. At the age of twenty-eight he succeeded
Lord Rayleigh as Cavendish Professor of Physics. It
was an unexpected
appointment
and remarks were
made about 'mere boys being made professors'. But
during J. J. Thomson's professorship,
the Cavendish
Laboratory
in Cambridge became perhaps the most
famous laboratory in the world.

Plate voltage
VA/volt

-200
-150
-100
- 50

0.6
1.6
2.2
2.5
2.6
2.7

450
500

2.8
2.8
2.8

anode

cathode

to pump

42

r-"---

300

It
millie
1
filammade
one
tyres
air ali1
only
know
is no~
only
woul,
Th,
plate

RAYS

It was through the study of cathode rays that J. J.


Thomson was led to suggest the existence of electrons.
In the year before he was born the German physicist
Heinrich Geissler produced a vacuum pump capable of
producing pressures much lower than had ever been
achieved before. Such a pump enabled Geissler's friend
Plucker to discover that electricity could flow through
an evacuated tube into which electrodes had been fixed,

To
app 11
readir
I

(left) with Ernest

CATHODE

Discharge tube

0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.2

50
100
150
200
250
300
350
400

1. J. Thomson
Rutherford

Current fA/
milliampere

negar
l

this
ing tl~
Bu
that i
plate
trav9
relati
expel
I

cussed already encourages


us to
Ire flow of electric charge which is
.ctric current. It is suggested that in
of both positive and negative ions
for the current. But what happens
ositive charge or negative charge,
lowing? At this stage we have no
s decide, but later experiments with
us that in most metallic conductors
~,othe flow of negative charge.
ing in a conducting wire, could we
of the wire by some means? We can
out of water by heating it and this
I'ight try heating a wire to see if we
out. An experiment to do this was
nd of the last section. The hot wire
'~;!eelectroscope to discharge, but it
her the electroscope was positively
irged and there is some confusion
are produced in the air. To find out
ItieS out of the hot wire, we must
. acuum.

cathode

. bove contains a filament which can


It when 6.3 volt is put across it. It also
ited plate. Because it contains two
ament and the plate, such a tube is
r.
iode.

Crookes' Maltese-cross

tube

when a high voltage was connected across it. In 1875


Sir William Crookes developed tubes which established
that the glow visible on the end of the tube was produced by something coming out of the cathode and
travelling down the tube to hit the glass wall. This
radiation came to be known as cathode rays. For twenty
years there was controversy as to whether these rays
were electromagnetic
waves (like light) or particles.
It was 1. 1. Thomson who finally resolved the issue.
His paper on cathode
rays in the Philosophical
Magazine of October 1897 begins as follows:
The experiments discussed in this paper were undertaken
in the hope of gaining some information as to the nature of
the cathode rays. The most diverse opinions are held as to
these rays; according to the almost unanimous opinion of
German physicists they are due to some process in the
aether" to which - inasmuch as in a uniform magnetic field
their course is circular and not rectilinear - no phenomenon
hitherto observed is analogous; another view of these rays is
that, so far from being wholly aetherial, they are in fact
wholly material, and that they mark the paths of particles
of matter charged with negative electricity. It would seem at
first sight that it ought not to be difficult to discriminate
between views so different, yet experience shows that this is
not the case, as amongst physicists who have most deeply
studied the subject can be found supporters
of either
theory .

Thomson's

original apparatus

" In those days it was considered necessary to have an aether as a medium in


which electromagnetic waves could travel.

43

J. J. THOMSON
AND THE
ELECTRON

MEASUREMENT

OF elm

His paper continues by describing his experiments in


which a beam of rays from a cathode c were deflected
by the electric field between plates d and e. The deflection of the spot on the screen was measured. ,;: A

and
this el

ION

If a pi
chargcharg
a CUD
the e
charge
filamel
hot fil
the h1i
impor
greate
I

undeflected

in electric field alone

magnetic field alone

" The crucial point in Thomson's work


was getting a better vacuum. It was this
that enabled the electrostatic deflection
to be observed. Previous scientists had
tried this, but the pressure of residual
ionised gas neutralised
the electrostatic field
and no deflection
was
observed. It was this that led to the
divergence of views mentioned in the
quotation above.

44

magnetic field, produced by coils placed around the


tube, was then superimposed
so that the spot was no
longer deflected. This experiment enabled Thomson to
calculate the velocity of the particles and hence to
deduce a value for elm, where e is the charge and m the
mass of each cathode ray particle. From his experiments, he found that the value of elm was independent
of the nature of the gas in the discharge tube and that
its value was much larger than that of the hydrogen
ion found from electrolysis. This could be due either to
a larger size of e or a smaller m. His paper continues:
The explanation which seems to me to account in the most
simple and straightforward
manner for the facts is founded on
a view ... that the atoms of the different chemical elements
are different aggregations of atoms of the same kind. If, in
the very intense electric field in the neighbourhood
of the
cathode, the molecules of the gas are dissociated and are
split up, not into the ordinary chemical atoms, but into
these primordial
atoms which we shall for brevity call
corpuscles;
and if these corpuscles
are charged with
electricity and projected from the cathode by the electric
field, they would behave exactly like cathode rays.
Thus on this view we have in cathode rays matter in a new
state in which the subdivision of matter is carried very much
further than in the ordinary gaseous state; a state in which
all matter - that is, matter derived from different sources
such as hydrogen, oxygen, etc. - is of one and the same kind;
this matter being the substance from which all the chemical
elements are built up.

J. J. Thomson also made measurements

of the charge

e.

----bscope will discharge

it, showing

J. J. THOMSON

AND THE
ELECTRON

-~---~-----------

---~

~I

The method he used was not very accurate (accuracy


had to wait until Millikan began his series of experiments in 1909), but it enabled him to show that the
mass m of the cathode rays was much less than that of
hydrogen
ions. These
small
negatively
charged
'primordial corpuscles' came to be known as electrons.

THE ELECTRON AS A CONSTITUENT


OF ALL MATTER
Thomson found that the value of elm was always
the same whatever the residual gas in the discharge
tube and whatever the material of which the cathode
was made. His quantitative experiments suggested that
the electron was a common constituent of all kinds of
matter. Support for Thomson's suggestion, based on
his work with gases, came from others who studied
electrons from metals (photo-electrons
and thermionic
electrons). In all cases the value of elm was the same.
In 1906 J. J. Thomson received the Nobel Prize and
in 1908 he was knighted. He was President of the
Royal Society from 1915 to 1920 and Master of
Trinity College, Cambridge, from 1918 until his death
in 1940. But he was probably never happier than when
he was working in the Cavendish Laboratory and it was
his discovery of the electron which marks the beginning of a new epoch in physical science.

er a radioactive source produces


~r drops condense, producing the
IThe first photograph above shows
I!)duced by alpha particles; the less
ed by beta particles (which produce
er to condense on) are shown in the
I' The third photograph
is an
k: many droplets in this magnified
I Ionisation produces both positive
45

MODELS OF
THE ATOM

Our first model


of a positive and
explain the facts
the electron J. J.

of the atom pictured it as consisting


a negative part. This was sufficient to
of ionisation. After the discovery of
Thomson came to picture the atom as

an impenetrable
sphere,
positively
charged, with
negative electrons embedded in it: the 'plum pudding'
model, which was accepted until Rutherford replaced
it by another.

NUCLEAR
source of o: particles

MODEL

OF THE ATOM

negs

The history of the nuclear model began in 1909 when


Geiger and Marsden were investigating what happened
when fast-moving alpha particles were directed at gold
foil. They found that a small proportion of the particles
was deflected through angles greater than 90 As
Rutherford said long afterwards, this was 'almost as
incredible as if you had fired a IS-inch shell at a piece
of tissue-paper
and it came back and hit you'. The
number scattered was small (only 1 in 8000 through an
angle greater than 90
but it was characteristic
of
Rutherford to appreciate the significance of these few.
He showed that such large-angle scattering could be
explained only if the alpha particles were able to move
0

),

microscope

------

,
\

I
I
f

,
,

,
\

-.

46

deviation of alpha particles


in Thomson atom

\
\

--t-----'e
,

....

the
they'

_-----' ",,"

,//

deviation of alpha particles


in Rutherford atom

IOf\j
RAI
I

A m:
to b
Simi

ins are

attracted

to the negative
ions to the
I(the anode). At the electrodes they
ir charge or are neutralised by the
attery.
lectrodes are used in a solution of
:~e movement of the ions leads to a
oper on the cathode and the chemical
es place at the anode when the
it leads to the copper being taken
has an important
application
in
'the impure metal can be made the
uJper is deposited on the cathode.)
'j,f ions in a liquid solution is also
Ising a current through water conhuric acid. Positive and negative ions
msible for carrying
the current
. The positive ions are attracted to
'e they are neutralised by the current
producing hydrogen. The negative
Ie anode, where they give up their
iemical action produces oxygen. The
ren and oxygen, bubble up from the
anode respectively,
and can be
atus similar to that shown on the left.

MODELS OF
THE ATOM

'sode; and the negative

size of atom
IO

('"V10- m)

CEO BY A FLAME

l:jve ions are produced in the air over


I~orthis reason a cool Bunsen flame is
of ensuring that a rod is discharged.
ed over a polythene rod the ions prolise any charge on it.
stration to show that a flame produces
negative ions can be given using a
on either side of which are put two
I(ne plate is connected to the positive
.gh-voltage supply, the other to the
f. If a strong
light source is set up so
caused by the currents of air above

_.

--

<

------

-------

within a very close distance of a positive charge


contained within a very small volume at the centre of
the atom, in fact a distance very much closer than the
size of the atom itself. For this to be possible Rutherford proposed the nuclear model of the atom consisting of a very small positively charged nucleus at its
centre with electrons round it like planets round the
sun.
In this model a hydrogen atom of diameter about
3 X 10- m has a nucleus about 3 X 10-1:, m in diameter.
The diameter of the nucleus is approximately 1/100000
of the diameter of the atom, the volume is 1/1015 the
volume of the atom and the rest is empty space. If the
nucleus were represented by a ball 5 em in diameter,
the atom as a whole would be a virtually empty sphere
5 km in diameter, assuming that the size of the atom
is determined by the rotating electron.
The chemical properties of an atom are determined
by the number
of electrons
around the nucleus.
Hydrogen
has 1 electron, helium 2, lithium 3, ...
carbon 6, nitrogen 7, oxygen 8, ... and so on up to
uranium
with 92 electrons
(and now transuranic
elements have been produced, each having successively
one more electron). As the atom as a whole is electrically neutral, the nucleus must have a positive charge
numerically equal to that of the electrons. Thus the
positive charge on the hydrogen nucleus is 1 unit,
helium 2, lithium 3, ... carbon 6, nitrogen 7, oxygen
8, ... uranium 92.
After the discovery of the neutron by Chadwick in
1932 it was accepted that the nucleus was made of
protons
and neutrons.
Both these particles
have
approximately
equal masses; the neutron
has no
charge, whereas the proton has a positive charge equal
and opposite to the charge on the electron. The oxygen
atom, which is eighth in the periodic table, has eight
electrons around the nucleus. The nucleus, therefore,
has a charge of + 8 units and this is provided by 8 protons. But the mass of oxygen is 16 units and this means
that there must be 8 neutrons in the nucleus to bring the
mass to 16. The heavier isotope of oxygen - oxygen 17 47
10

-----

-----

will have the same number of electrons and the same


number of protons, but one extra neutron to bring the
mass to 17. Similarly uranium has 92 electrons in the
outer part of the atom, 92 protons in the nucleus to
make the charge right and 146 neutrons to bring the
mass to a total of 238 units.

MODELS OF
THE ATOM

1
1

2
1

16
8

1 proton
neutron

1 electron

outside nucleus

1 proton
1 neutron

1 electron

outside nucleus

8 protons
8 neutrons

8 electrons

IIONsl
I

The c
strips,
to the
not m1
same
positiv
We
it as J
sornetl

""1

outside nucleus

'-6

a neutral I
17
8

8 protons
9 neutrons

8 electrons

outside nucleus

17

The:
usually
or the
92 protons

92 electrons

negative

outside nucleus

ionisati
knockel
It is j
this, br
discuss,
need fo

146 neutrons

238
Nuclei

THE BOHR MODEL

OF THE ATOM

The idea of electrons moving in orbits round the


central nucleus was attractive:
it was similar to the
solar system except that each planet was kept in orbit
by a gravitational force whereas in the atom it was the
electrical force between the orbiting negative electron
and the positive nucleus.
There was, however, a serious snag. If electrons
move up and down in an aerial, they radiate energy.
Imagine an electron moving in a circle round a nucleus:
viewed from one direction, it would be moving up and
down. If it were radiating its energy away, it would
48

anode

cathode

L------1+

-_- _- CuS04 solution

-=--=--

Early i
(distille:
became
it. Sim
water
it. We
that PC(j
through

Ian be charged positively by con.the positive terminal of a battery


at the same time connecting the
gative terminal. (This should give
you could confirm that a cellulose
ively charged and a polythene rod
A high voltage is necessary to get
'm the leaf is fully up there may be
Ie of 1000 or more volts, though it
n of the electroscope.

MODELS OF
THE ATOM

soon collapse into the nucleus and the atom would


cease to exist - and yet our experience is that such an
atom lasts indefinitely!
Why, therefore,
does the
orbiting electron not radiate its energy?

IG CHARGE
TRICITY

electrons moving
up and down
in aerial

--------')

radiation
is emitted

AND
//

ection between this electrostatic


electricity? This can be shown by
er Graaff generator and then disth through a current-measuring
ively you can charge the sphere of
igenerator
continuously and get a
Ie through a delicate meter. You
I

a similar experiment in which a


l~);ated to make it conducting,
is
two plates as illustrated above.
.Graaff generator is operating the
rom one plate to the other, carrying
'p, and the galvanometer records a
I

iments we accept that the flow of


'quivalent to a current.

-,

.... -(---

//

'e,

I
I

\
\

I
I
I

\
\
\

,-,

I
/

-7--

electron

in orbit

view of
electron orbit
sideways on

why is no radiation

emitted?

The Danish physicist Neils Bohr developed a new


model of the atom to overcome this difficulty. The
essence of his model is that the electron going round
the nucleus moves in an ellipse, but it cannot have just
any orbit; there are certain definite ones each of which
corresponds
to a definite energy.
Bohr's theory
assumed that when an electron is in a particular orbit
with a particular energy it does not send out radiation:
energy is only given out when the electron changes
from one orbit to another with a different energy.
Typical Bohr models of the atom might be as shown
opposite.
Many a book that wants to appear modern, many a
toy that calls itself an 'atomic ray gun', many an advertisement that wishes to appear up-to-date puts on the
container or cover a drawing like that on the left which
is meant to be a Bohr model of the atom. It is perhaps
unfortunate
that those responsible for the advertisements do not realise that the Bohr model is in fact only
a model originally suggested in 1913, and that since
1926 it has been replaced by yet another model discussed below.
49

THE EVIDENCE
FOR CHARGED
PARTICLES

Models of Bohr orbits in the Science


Museum, London

':'For further details read Waves


Particles in this series.

50

THE WAVE-MECHANICAL

or

MODEL

(This section is not easy to understand and is merely


included here for the sake of completeness. It would
be a pity to leave the impression that the Bohr model
was the end of the story, because the wave-mechanical
model has now replaced it. Do not worry about any
detail of this new model.)
In 1927 it was discovered that electrons could be
diffracted. In other words it was shown that electrons
had wave properties even though it was 'proved' by
Millikan's experiment that they consisted of particles.
This wave-particle duality is one of the strange things
about modern physics: electrons are shown by one
experiment
to consist of particles,
by another to
consist of waves. ':' This is a fact of life which has to be
accepted
even though
at first it sounds
selfcontradictory.
If electrons can be thought of as waves, how will this
modify our model of the atom? Bohr's model of the
atom was a good model because it was useful and
helped towards a further understanding
of the atom.
But there were the strange hypotheses made by Bohr
about electrons having certain definite orbits with
certain definite energy states. It was the new model of
the atom developed as a result of Schrodinger's work
in 1927 that gave the clue to why these energy states
existed.
It would not be appropriate to describe in detail this
wave-mechanical model of the atom, but suffice it to
say that this model, based on the idea of electrons
having wave as well as particle properties, has now
replaced the Bohr model as it has usefully explained

YOUI

beet
a ny
then
a ce
willi

huns
polY
IS se.
lose
I

BD.:
I

polyi

aced
This
posit
char!
unli]
com!'1
cellr
l

+++

[!][!]
+++++++

+++++

~.[!]

'n

mvel
insu
leaf,
leaf
If
of a

POSil

leaf
brou
leaf

'combined to form molecules and


mass of a nitrogen atom to the
tom is in the ratio 14: 16 and that
in the ratio 2: 1 (conveniently
r)) or 2: 3 (N203).
fore support our theory of a partiter and from them we shall adopt
iticles consist either of atoms or
'is which we call molecules.
I

MODELS OF
THE ATOM

those things which appear inexplicable on the Bohr


model. The electron is no longer a particle in orbit;
instead we have a probability distribution that it is at a
distance r from the nucleus, and although we cannot
know precisely where it is, we do know exactly what its
energy is. The interesting thing is that the maximum of
the probability distribution curve for hydrogen shown
below occurs at a distance which turns out to be the
distance of the first Bohr orbit.
c:

.~

.0

....

:md much more besides - supports


matter. Let us therefore assume
Isee where it leads us. In particular,
what is inside the atom.

.
-0

.?
i5
co

.0

0.

distance

THE FUTURE
The important thing to realise is that no one would
claim that the wave-mechanical
model of the atom is
the final correct one, but it provides a convenient model
which fits the known facts as at present observed.
Physicists are now much too modest to think they know
the ultimate truth.

51

ELECTRONS
AT WORK

This book has until now been concerned with the


evidence which led towards a deeper understanding
of the atom. The tiny electron may have seemed an
unreal part of an academic exercise. On the contrary,
the electron is continually being put to our use. The
moving electron is responsible for all the electrical
devices we take so much for granted in our daily life.
It makes possible the sending-out and reception of
radio waves. Without it a car engine would not work
and a computer
would be impossible.
Its motion
provides our homes with heat and light at the touch of
a switch.
It would be an impossible task in this short chapter
to list all the useful jobs the electron does, but we shall
refer briefly to certain devices which make use of
electron streams. Pride of place will be given to that
invaluable
tool of the physicist,
the cathode-ray
oscilloscope (c.r.o. for short), which will be found in
every physics laboratory in the world.

THE CATHODE-RAY

OSCILLOSCOPE

In an oscilloscope a hot cathode gives off electrons


which are accelerated towards an anode with a central
aperture. They pass through and travel to the coated
screen, which fluoresces, or glows, when and where
heated
filament

focussi ng
anode

deflecti ng
plates

:-1
I
------------------

control
grid

L7

OJ-

- -------------------

accelerati ng
anode
fluorescent screen

the electrons hit it. The brightness of the spot will


depend on the number of electrons striking the screen.
This can be controlled by a grid near the cathode: if
52

The'
mot
aver
ture

tern]
diff,:

bro.
expl
sigh!
spec,
part
a co
If'
the
l

500

AI

lead:
with
evid,'
matt
" For this treatment,
Theory.

see also Kinetic

pard
one.

PO\\)
CH~
So fd
consi
has t
we fii
m aq
Th
of h.j
of so'
bines
find
that
They
11

'~----

------------

---

fashion. This important experiIevidence that gases, such as air,


moving small particles, too small
ncir effect is clearly visible in the
rY buffet around the much larger
random manner.
I

'lrHE MODEL FROM A


N OF PRESSURE
~idbounces off it, a force is exerted
Ie of the change of momentum.
Insists of fast-moving particles we
exert a force on the walls of any
here would be a pressure.
for our model is that if we apply
cles in a gas the same laws of
lave derived for large-sized objects
)[pression for the pressure in close
It is observed in practice.
dlering one gas particle hitting the
;~ange of momentum gives us the
We consider the effect of all the
.~sthe total force on the wall, and
I we get the pressure. The theory"
Ip is the pressure, V the volume,
nare value of the particle velocities
r:S of gas, pV= iMv2.
is made that the kinetic energy of
stant at a particular temperature,
'above that the product of the prese is a constant for a given mass of
livered experimentally that this proJ the temperature is kept constant
pressure does not get too big.
not lose sight of the fact that an
made, it is encouraging
that
s predicted a result which is connt.

not focussed

focussed

not focussed
volt/em
2
10.

.0,5

20

0,2
0.1

the grid is made negative fewer electrons get through


and the spot is dimmer. The BRIGHTNESS knob on the
oscilloscope controls this.
Before reaching the anode, the beam of electrons
usually passes through a focusing cylinder, to which
a positive voltage is applied. This tends to concentrate
the beam. There is an optimum voltage for it: too little
and the beam is not focused, too much and the spot
will again be blurred. This voltage is controlled by the
FOCUS knob on the front of the oscilloscope.
Inside the cathode-ray tube are two pairs of deflecting plates; one pair will deflect the beam horizontally,
the other vertically. The deflection is proportional
to
the voltage applied and this enables the oscilloscope
to be used as a measuring instrument.
For example,
if it is known that 20 volt deflects the spot 1 em, 40
volt 2 cm and so on, an unknown voltage can be applied
and from the deflection its magnitude can be found. In
order that small voltages may be measured it is usual
for an amplifier to be included in the oscilloscope.
A voltage selector switch allows different sensitivities.
53

.--~---------

ELECTRONS
AT WORK

If d.c. voltages are applied to the deflection plates,


the spot will move up or down depending on which
way the voltage is applied. If a.c. voltages are applied
the spot will move rapidly up and down and a line will
appear on the screen.

WHY DO WE
BELIEVE IN
ATOMS?

spr
dot
acr
ane
are!

enc

ma),
do (
I

Ife
no voltage
applied

d.c. voltage
applied to plates

a.c. voltage
applied to plates
I

Incorporated
in an oscilloscope is a time-base circuit.
This applies a steadily increasing
voltage to the
X-plates (those that deflect the spot horizontally) so
that the spot sweeps across the screen at a steady rate
until, at a certain point, the voltage flies back to its
original value and the spot consequently returns rapidly
to its starting point. The flyback time should be as short
as possible; it is also usual for an internal arrangement
to reduce or 'suppress' the flyback trace so that it is not
visible. (You can sometimes see the flyback trace if the
brightness is turned up to its maximum value.) The

If ti

R,
it is,
SIze

leas'!
to

sweep speed should be variable so that the frequency


can be changed over a wide range. The voltage variation might therefore be as shown above: it is obvious
why it is called a saw-tooth voltage.
If an a.c. voltage at 50 Hz (50 cycles per second) is
applied to the Y-plates and the time-base is not
switched on, the trace will be as (i) opposite. If the
time-base is switched on at a frequency of 25 Hz, the
trace will be as in (ii); if the time-base frequency is
50 Hz, it will be as in (iii); if the time-base frequency
is 100 Hz, it will be as in (iv).
54

Ther
is in'
But
the r

M,

aton
num
I

YOUI

expel
air, 11
pow:
I

---'--.---

~1Jtsthe spacing must be regular for


'nee to occur. The crystal behaves
Imal "grating'. The fact that Laue
irofessor Laue who first suggested
IX-rays) can be obtained provides
nee in support of our theory that
'egularly spaced particles.

ELECTRONS
AT WORK

(i)

110 TO GAS
~)erty of matter is that a solid turns
fficient heat energy is given to it;
mergy is supplied, it turns to gas.
'el of matter made of particles say

M THE Oil-DROP
.experirnent, you took a very small
cross) and put it on the surface of a
had been dusted with lycopodium
sut into a thin film on the surface.
of "continuous juice' and not of
expect the layer of oil to go on

(iii)

(iv)

The action of a rectifier can be shown easily on an


oscilloscope. In the circuit below, a rectifier is put in
series with an a.c. voltage supply and a resistor.
Connected
as shown, the oscilloscope will show the
voltage across the resistor. As the resistor has a fixed
resistance,
the voltage will be proportional
to the
current, so that the trace will show how the current
passing through the rectifier varies with time. (Note
that this is the usual technique for getting an oscilloscope to show how current varies with time.) If the
rectifier is reversed, the trace will appear the other way
up.

mergy supplied breaks some of the


particles together in the solid, so
'nore freely. We know that liquids
have probably seen how two disone above the other in a cylinder
ller.
orgyis added, perhaps all the bonds
particles move around quite freely.
would expect the gas to occupy
2lme than the solid - and that is
Support for our model also comes
a gas occupies all the space avail-this proves that matter is made of
.s lend support to the idea.

(ii)

o
o
o
a.c.

d.c.

01

':'In practice it will be found that a very


slow a.c. signal (2 Hz or less) probably
will not show on the screen in the A C
switch position.
A t these very low
frequencies it may be necessary to use
the DC switch position.

School oscilloscopes
usually also have an AC/DC
switch on the front panel. In the DC position the spot
will be deflected by both a d.c. voltage and an a.c. one.
When in the AC position a d.c. voltage has no effect
and the spot is only deflected by an a.c. signal." In
some ways it is inaccurately named an AC/DC switch:
it would be more correct to call it an 'AC only/ric and
AC switch'! To illustrate
its use, consider the circuit
below in which an a.c. and d.c. voltage in series are
connected to the input. In the DC switch position both

rll~.g
CJ

L-

~~O

88

55

X_!I~

ELECTRONS
AT WORK

the a.c. and d.c. voltages will deflect the spot, so that
the trace will be as shown on the left. In the AC switch
position only the a.c. voltage acts, so the trace is as
on the right.
There is usually one more facility on school oscilloscopes - a Z-input on the back of the oscilloscope.
An input voltage here is superimposed
on the grid
inside the tube (see page 24) and this changes the
number of electrons streaming through the anode.
This affects the brightness of the spot on the screen.
If, for example, an alternating
voltage at 20 Hz is
applied to this input, the brightness of the spot will
vary 20 times a second. This facility is of considerable
importance in the next device using electron streams,
the television tube.

THE TELEVISION

WHY DO WE
BELIEVE IN
ATOMS?

':'This is considered in greater detail


in Waves or Particles in this series.

Yen
regi
by (I
slit I
whic
inte:
slits,
stru:
when
tion

TUBE

A television tube is basically a cathode-ray tube with


two time-bases. The first moves the spot horizontally
across the screen and then causes it to fly back very
quickly: this is called the line time-base and is just like
the time-base in an oscilloscope. The other is called
the frame time-base and this operates at the same time,
moving the spot more slowly down the screen until it
too flies back to the top again. In this way the spot
covers the whole of the screen as shown below. In
Ray of light falling on a diffraction
grating (left)

"~,~========~~~==~~==~==~~-----,,~======~~~==~~~~~~==~~--~~,,~,======~--~~~~==~~====~=--~==~"~~~~~~~~~~====~~----

Laue spots (right)

--====~==~,~,==~-=~=-~-=--~-===~~---===~==~,~~~~~~~~~~~~

"~'~~~~~~~==~~~--

--==~==~~==~,,--~--~==~======~-~==~====~~~-~~~,?)==~~==~~==~-"

56
-

---

-.--

..

------

Ifl
small
cryst:
tive ill
those

---

-_.--"

'--

-.--

-- ----...

you will have studied crystals. '::


iced the regularity of shape in
Igar, in salt and other substances.
I what happens when you grow
i~opper sulphate. You may perhaps
rf salt or salol growing under a
les always seem to be the same for
nee under consideration.

Britain, the spot scans the screen in either 405 or 625


horizontal
lines and the whole scanning process is
repeated 25 times every second. (In practice, it is a
little more complicated as alternate lines are scanned
first and, to second later, the other lines are scanned.)

ELECTRON
AT WORK

A monochrome

.nt for this regularity? One possible


Ithe substances were made up of
s s : so it was that you came to a
Ide up of particles.
I!;rt for the model when you saw
.ing cleaved. If the regular shape of
I they were made up of layers of
I';xpect them to cleave along certain
.st what happened. So our model is

television tube

Cutaway view of a colour


tube (right)

television

The intensity of the spot at any point can be controlled by the voltage applied to the grid, as happens
at the Z-input to the oscilloscope described above.
As the number of electrons reaching the screen varies,
the spot changes its brightness. The different bright and
dark spots build up a complete picture.
Because of the persistence of vision no gaps appear
to the viewer between one picture and the next and so
a 'moving picture' is seen in the same way that a cine
film appears as a 'movie' even though made of a
sequence of 'still' pictures.

THE X-RAY TUBE


Cleaving a polystyrene

model

Another device which depends on a stream of electrons


is the X-ray tube. In this a stream of electrons from a
hot filament is accelerated
by a high voltage to an
anode. A target of tungsten inset in the anode is hit by
the electrons, which give up their energy. A large
proportion of this energy turns into heat - and X-ray
anodes get very hot indeed. But some energy is given
out as X-rays, which are an electromagnetic
radiation
like light, but with a much higher frequency (and a
much smaller wavelength).
57

There are two basic controls on a modern X-ray


tube. You can increase the filament current and this
will increase the number of electrons given off and
hence the intensity of the X-rays. You can also increase
the accelerating voltage between the filament and the
anode. The voltage increase causes an increase in the
energy of the electrons when they hit the target, and
consequently X-rays of higher energy will be given off.
If you wish to take an X-ray photograph
of the
stomach, for example, you need X-rays of greater
energy than are needed for a photograph of the hand.
The importance
of X-rays in diagnostic work in
hospitals needs no emphasis here. It is the moving
stream of electrons which makes it all possible. The
scientist in his pursuit of knowledge discovered the
electron, and the application
of that knowledge has
brought benefit to mankind.

ELECTRONS
AT WORK

WHY DO WE
BELIEVE IN
ATOMS?

was
will

~U~(I

lllSl~

muc
L
of a
I

EA[
The'

cam
cord
Renl
spec
evidup
was
thou'

anode

high

TH'

voltage
filament
cathode

target

X-ray of the stomach of a patient


enjoyed swallowing press studs

58

Granulated sugar

who

FluOf

elieving in the existence of atoms.

APPENDIX:
MASS
SPECTROMETERS::~

'if the atomic bomb. We all know


't why do we believe in them? The

In is that we have read about them


that we have heard about them on
in, that people talk about them so
come to believe in them ourselves.
l will take things like this on trust:
.vidence.
,

':'More detail is
included here than
will be necessary
for an O-level
course. It is included
for general interest.

,MODELS
I

.nple one. There is not one conclucan do to prove the existence of


ra clue about atoms from studying
; enables us to suggest a model of
I We can start thinking about the
lead us to expect certain conthen be put to the test. If we find
,are confirmed by experiment, this
,cknce in support of the model.
prove that a model is correct; all
.go on collecting more and more
ports it. You can go on believing it
'nd evidence that contradicts it. It is
lu have either to abandon the model
'the new evidence. But models do
p;ct in all respects to be useful. Pro.ow far one can safely go, models
.plete may be extremely valuable as
this book.
one which can be put to the test.
If gravitation
was a good theory;
'mId be made from it and these were
'iment. None of these experiments,
:at the theory was true in the sense
theorem can be proved. Newton's
aeless, accepted until an experiment
Iiruitations (although it is still useful
rw theory of gravitation, Einstein's,

THE

MASS

SPECTROGRAPH

We have mentioned how the mass of the hydrogen ion


can be found from electrolysis. But what about other
atoms? Could ions be deflected in electric and magnetic
fields as described earlier for electrons? This would
enable us to calculate their masses.
J. J. Thomson devised an apparatus in 1913 for the
deflection of positive ions. This is shown diagrammatically below. The positive ions were produced in
a discharge tube into which a suitable gas was fed very
slowly at low pressure. The positive ions from the
discharge tube moved to the cathode where they passed
through a very fine tube into a region maintained at a
very high vacuum. The beam of positive ions then
passed between horizontal plates, so that they were
deflected vertically when a voltage difference was
applied between the plates. In addition a magnetic
field was arranged to deflect the ions horizontally.

photographic
plate

t ~gNe and f6Ne are isotopes of neon they both have the same place in the
periodic table and are the same as far
as chemical properties are concerned.
Both have 10 electrons round the
nucleus and a charge of + 10 units on
the nucleus. Each nucleus therefore
contains 10 protons.
The nucleus of
2Ne, however, has 10 neutrons whereas
that of 22Ne has 12, thereby accounting
for the difference in mass. In ordinary
neon, there are 9 parts of 2Ne to 1
part of nNe and this gives an average
mass of 20.2 units.

How much the ions were actually deflected depended


on their speed and on their mass, but all those with
the same mass fell on the same parabolic curve on the
photographic
plate. Typical positive ray parabolas are
shown on the next page.
Thomson first showed by this apparatus that the
gas neon was really a mixture of two gases, one with
heavier atoms than the other. This revealed the existence of isotopes: atoms of the same element having the
same place in the periodic table of elements, in other
words the same chemical properties,
but different
masses. (They are called isotopes from the Greek words
'isos topos' meaning 'same place") There was a strong
parabola for 2Ne and a weaker one for 22Ne.tWhy do
you think the 22 Ne was weaker?
59

THE,

Mas
The'
Mas!
Isotr
1.1.11

Catr
Mea:
The'
Positive-ray parabolas
MOD1

Nue!'

Thomson's

positive-ray

The
The
The

apparatus

An improved apparatus was developed in 1919 by


F. W. Aston. A beam of positive ions is again deflected
by electric and magnetic fields in a highly evacuated
photographic
plate

Aston's

60

of germanium

mass spectrometer

(right)

ELEC

The
The
The
APPEll

Mass spectrogram
(below)

----~I

6
6
7
7
9
10
10
11

A.TOMS?

ystals
~rystals
I

I-drop experiment
aian motion
,.:1 from a consideration

12
13
13
14

bm chemistry
I

PARTICLES

'electrostatics
and current electricity
I

,llame
iilioactive radiations
mot filament

vith thermionic

22
22
25
25

atom

vacuum tubes

MODERN

MASS

SPECTROMETERS

Aston had the problem of focusing ions which had the


same mass but different velocities. In a modern mass
spectrometer
the important
thing is to produce
positively charged ions as far as possible with the same
energy.
The best bombarding particle to knock an electron
off an atom (and so produce a positive ion) is another
electron. The first requirement is therefore an electron
gun. In this a hot filament gives off electrons which are
accelerated by an applied voltage. These electrons are
directed at the atoms or molecules of a gas let into the
ion chamber at low pressure (excess gas is pumped
away continuously).

15
15
16
17
17
17
18
19
21

region. The beam of ions is spread in the electric field


as shown opposite and then focused by the magnetic field
on to the photographic
plate. This had the advantage
that, instead of the ions being spread out into parabolas
as in Thomson's
apparatus,
they were focused to
different points on the plate, depending on their mass.
Aston's mass spectrograph was of great importance in
investigating
isotopes in the early days after their
discovery.

of

lion

,RGED

I APPENDIX

accelerating voltage
L
for electron gun
I--r-------i

r-- --1

29
Ir<!J1ENT

tperiment
ment
I

~CTRON

bctrons
ctrons due to the magnetic field
I

.ctron

30
31
32
33
33
34
34
35
36
38
38

hot fi lament
ELECTRON

GUN

stream of ions

ION

GUN

61

I APPENDIX

If the energy of the bombarding electrons is steadily


increased, there will come a time when each has enough
energy to knock off an electron and thereby produce a
positive ion. A weak field causes these ions to move
through the grid to enter a strong field where they are
accelerated - so we have an ion gun. All the ions move
through the same potential difference, so they all have
the same kinetic energy.
In one type of modern spectrometer,
developed by
Dempster, the ions on leaving the gun are deflected in
a semicircular path through 180 in the same way that
the electrons in a fine beam tube were deflected into
circles, except that this time the magnetic field must
be very much stronger. Why do you think it must be much
stronger?
0

NOTE
TO THE
TEACHER

Thi'
Nuf
toge
sho-

whir
usef
the I
wha
inch]
subj:
with
in th
that
style'
very
will
I

that
to electrometer

At
Nuf~;
back
ideas!
findiJ

Even with a fine hole, the stream of ions from the ion
gun may splay out through a small angle, but the orbits
will focus sharply after a half circle, as shown on the
left, provided the splay is not too great.
The point at which the beam focuses depends upon
the mass M of the ions: there will be different points
for different values of M, so that a photographic film
will show the existence of different isotopes.
As in the fine-beam tube the kinetic energy of the
ions = !MV2 = Ve
where V is the accelerating voltage applied to the ions.
62
L

!D

and representatives

APPENDIX

Also the force on the ions in the magnetic field

throughout the world

this publication may be reproduced, stored


'itted in any form or by any means - electronic,
rding or otherwise - without the prior
'nero

aler and Tanner Ltd, Frome and London

are grateful to the following for permis-aphs: Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge,


ibove) and 30: Geological Survey Museum
I); Philip Harris Ltd, page 31 ; Kodansha
2';ht); Gunter Lutzow, page 34 (left and
BS 25, 57 (left and right) and 58 (above);
etired, Tate and Lyle Ltd), page 7 (left);
Ill, pages 20 (all photos),
43, 50 (all photos)
IW right);
Telequipment
Oscilloscopes by
K. Ltd, page 53 (left and right); Teltron
.low), 27, 28 (above and below) and cover
){raph on page 8 (above) is from Martin,
m (Harrap), and on page 60 (above and
Mass Spectra and Isotopes (Arnold).

=Bev
From these equations

Mv2

=--

it follows,

~ _ 2V
M B2r2

just as in the e/ m experiment.


An alternative
method of detection is to use a
collector with a narrow entrance slit for the ions and to
connect it to an electrometer
which measures very
small currents. In this arrangement r remains fixed, but
the voltage V is varied. B, rand e are the same, so
different values of V will correspond to different values
of M. A plot similar to the following is obtained. The
heights give the relative abundance
of the isotopes.

Ne20

Ne22
1000

voltage V

The ratio of the abundances of 2Ne to 22Ne is nine to


one, and this gives an average value to the relative
atomic mass of 20.2. Thus physics provides the chemist
with detailed analysis of his relative atomic masses.
Chlorine, for example, with a relative atomic mass of
35.5 is a mixture of three parts chlorine-35 with one
part chlorine-37.
The most modern mass spectrometers,
developed by
Nier working in 1947, use 60 focusing instead of 180.
The Dempster type is primarily used for the accurate
measurement of mass and the Nier type for determining
63

I APPENDIX

abundancies.
For this reason the Nier mass spectrometer is a very useful tool for analysis.
Small Nier mass spectrometers
have in recent years
been sent high in the atmosphere by rockets to study
the upper atmosphere.
At a height of 150 km, the
spectrometer
opens to admit a sample of the atmosphere (already at very low pressure) and it is then

V'
ion gun

PHY

EI
A:

accelerating
voltage V

~(

LONGMAN

Joh

/~

Sen it;

and)",

to electrometer

analysed. Nier-type mass spectrometers


are also used
in complex chemical plants to provide a continuous
check on the composition
of the materials going
through the plant.

Nuffi;

Illus[

~ JIll '

l:

~/I

LON!D

64
/
--

..

~-

hs
. Arc)

Heafford

oolnough
renee Bragg

Science D. D. Lindsay
de F. R. McKim

Shire
s of the cross
the cathode
the shadows
f electrons is
de visi ble by
tagnetic field,
ight-angles to
ists of several
ich are green,
to these than
blue.

LONGMAN

PHYSICS

TOPICS

General Editor J. L. Lewis, Malvern College; formerly


Associate Organiser, Nuffield O-Ievel Physics Project.
This series provides background-'material
for modern
courses in physics. The authors were closelv associated
with the Nuffield Foundation Physics Project.' and thus"
have an intimate knovvledqe.of its spirit, Thes.~ books are'
not textbooks in the conventional sense, nor do they give'
'the answers to investigations, that pupils vvill be' carrying
out in the laboratory. l,rl'sfead;they show. the relevance and '
applicationin
the 9utsfd,;eworld .of the ~ri,ncrples, studied,
in school.
,:;'
,
.