Atomic and Nuclear Physics VOCAB

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Geigar-Marsden Experiment
Rutherford Alpha Particle Scattering or Gold Foil Experiment
Photon
a discrete unit or package of light energy
Nuclide
a particular type of nucleus with a certain number of protons and neutrons.
Isotope
nuclei with the same number of protons (Z) but different number of neutrons (N)
Nucleon
a proton or neutron
Nucleon Number (Mass Number) (A)
number of nucleons (Protons + Neutrons) in nucleus.
Proton Number (Atomic Number) (Z)
number of protons in nucleus
Neutron Number
number of neutron in nucleus
Coulomb Interaction (Coulomb Force, Electrostatic Force)
electrostatic force of repulsion between the protons in the nucleus.
Radioactive Decay
When an unstable nucleus emits a particle (alpha, beta, gamma) (Note: Radioactive decay is both a random and a spontaneous process) (Note: the rate of radioactive decay decreases exponentially with time)
Alpha Particle
helium nucleus (2 protons + 2 neutrons)
Beta Positive Particle
Positron (anitelectron)
Beta Negative Particle
electron
Gamma Radiation
high energy (high frequency) electromagnetic radiation
Radioactive Half-life
a. the time taken for 1/2 the number of radioactive nuclei in sample to decay.
b. the time taken for the activity of a sample to decrease to 1/2 its initial value.
Articial (induced) Transmutation
when a nucleus is bombarded with a nucleon, an alpha particle or another small nucleus, resulting in a nuclide with a different proton number (a different element).
Unified Atomic Mass Unit
1/12th the mass of a carbon – 12 nucleus
Mass Defect
difference between the mass of the nucleus and the sum of the masses of its individual nucleons.
Binding Energy
Energy released when a nuclide is assembled from its individual components (OR: energy required when nucleus is separated into its individual components)
Binding Energy per Nucleon
energy released per nucleon when a nuclide is assembled from its individual components (OR: energy required per nucleon when nucleus is separated into its individual components)
Nuclear Fission
a heavy nucleus splits into two smaller nuclei of roughly equal mass.
Nuclear Fusion
two light nuclei join to form a heavier nuclei (Note: this is the main source of the Sun’s energy)
Categories: Atomic Physics