Ionization and Radiation Potentials and the Size of the Atom

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Ionising Radiation and Human Health

Subscribe Search My Account Login. Abstract IT is known that there is for different elements a relation between the ionising potential and atomic volume, the one increasing as the other diminishes. Rent or Buy article Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube. Rights and permissions Reprints and Permissions.


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Ghosh Molecular Physics Is the size of an atom determined by its ionization energy? Hugo J.


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Davey Journal of the Franklin Institute Comments By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. Nature menu. Nature Research menu. So, it could've even been called cationization energy because you really see energy required to remove an electron and make the overall atom more positive. So, let's think about the trends.

And we already have a little bit of background on the different groups of the periodic table. So, for example, if we were to focus on, especially we could look at group one, and we've already talked about how Hydrogen's a bit of a special case in group one but if we look at everything below Hydrogen. If we look at the Alkali, if we look at the Alkali metals here we've already talked about the fact that these are very willing to lose an electron.

Because if they lose an electron they get to the electron configuration of the noble gas before it. So, if Lithium loses an electron then it has an outer shell electron configuration of Helium. It has two outer electrons and that's kind of, we typically talk about the Octet Rule but if we're talking about characters like Lithium or Helium they're happy with two 'cause you can only put two electrons in that first shell.

But all the rest of 'em, Sodium, Potassium, etc. Lithium, if you remove an electron, it would get to Helium and it would have two electrons in its outer shell. So, you can imagine that the ionization energy right over here, the energy required to remove electrons from your Alkali Metals is very low. So, let me just write down this is So, when I say low, I'm talking about low ionization energy. Now, what happens as we move to the right of the periodic table? In fact, let's go all the way to the right on the periodic table.

Chapter 48 - Radiation: Ionizing

Well, if we go here to the Noble Gases, the Noble Gases we've already talked about. They're very, very, very stable. They don't want no one, they don't want their electron configurations messed with. So, it would be very hard Neon on down has their eight electrons that mumbling Octet Rule.

You are here:

Helium has two which is full for the first shell, and so it's very hard to remove an electron from here, and so it has a very high ionization energy. Low energy, easy to remove electrons. Or especially the first electron, and then here you have a high ionization energy.

I know you have trouble seeing that H. So, this is high, high ionization energy, and that's the general trend across the periodic table. As you go from left to right, you go from low ionization energy to high ionization energy. Now, what about trends up and down the periodic table? Well, within any group, if we, even if we look at the Alkali, if we look at the Alkali Metals right over here, if we're down at the bottom, if we're looking at, if we're looking at, say, Cesium right over here, that electron in the, one, two, three, four, five, six, in the sixth shell, that's going to be further from that one electron that Lithium has and its second shell.

So, it's going to be, it's going to be further away.

Ionization energy trends

It's not going to be as closely bound to the nucleus, I guess you could say. So, this is going to be even, that one electron's gonna even easier to remove than the one electron in the outermost shell of Lithium. So, this one has even lower, even lower, even lower And that's even going to be true of the Noble Gases out here that Xenon, that it's electrons in its outermost shell, even though it has eight valence electrons, they're further away from the nucleus, and so they're a little, the energy required to remove them is still going to be high but it's going to be lower than the energy from, from say Neon or Helium.

So, this is low. So, once again, ionization energy low to high as we go from left to right, and low to high as we go from bottom to top. Or we could say a general trend that if we go from the bottom left to the top right we go from low ionization energy, very easy to remove an electron from these characters right over here to high ionization energy, very hard to move, remove an electron from these characters over here. And you can see it if, you could see in a trend of actual measured ionization energies and I like to see charts like this because it kind of show you where the periodic table came from when people noticed these kind of periodic trends.

It's like, hey, it looks like there's some common patterns here. But on this one in particular we see on this axis we have ionization energy and electron volts, that's actually, it's literally a, this is units of energy. You could convert it to Joules if you like. Then over here, we're increasing the atomic numbers.


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  • So, we're mumbling , we're starting with Hydrogen then we go to Helium, and we keep, and then we go, go from Hydrogen to Helium to Lithium and let me show you what's happening right over here. So, you go to Hydrogen to Helium. So, Helium here is very stable, so it's very hard to remove an electron. And then you go to Lithium. Lithium, as we said, this is an Alkali metal. You remove an electron, it gets to a stable state. So, it takes very low energy to remove that electron.