The electron has a mass that is approximately 1/1836 that of the proton. Quantum mechanical properties of the electron include an intrinsic angular momentum (spin) of a half-integer value in units of ħ, which means that it is a fermion. Being fermions, no two electrons can occupy the same quantum state, in accordance with the Pauli exclusion principle. Like all matter, electrons have properties of both particles and waves, and so can collide with other particles and can be diffracted like light. The wave properties of electrons are easier to observe with experiments than those of other particles like neutrons and protons because electrons have a lower mass and hence a higher De Broglie wavelength for typical energies.
Many physical phenomena involve electrons in an essential role, such as electricity, magnetism, and thermal conductivity, and they also participate in gravitational, electromagnetic and weak interactions. An electron generates an electric field surrounding it. An electron moving relative to an observer generates a magnetic field. External magnetic fields deflect an electron. Electrons radiate or absorb energy in the form of photons when accelerated. Laboratory instruments are capable of containing and observing individual electrons as well as electron plasma using electromagnetic fields, whereas dedicated telescopes can detect electron plasma in outer space. Electrons have many applications, including electronics, welding, cathode ray tubes, electron microscopes, radiation therapy, lasers, gaseous ionization detectors and particle accelerators.
Interactions involving electrons and other subatomic particles are of interest in fields such as chemistry and nuclear physics. The Coulomb force interaction between positive protons inside atomic nuclei and negative electrons composes atoms. Ionization or changes in the proportions of particles changes the binding energy of the system. The exchange or sharing of the electrons between two or more atoms is the main cause of chemical bonding. British natural philosopher Richard Laming first hypothesized the concept of an indivisible quantity of electric charge to explain the chemical properties of atoms in 1838; Irish physicist George Johnstone Stoney named this charge 'electron' in 1891, and J. J. Thomson and his team of British physicists identified it as a particle in 1897.
Electrons can also participate in nuclear reactions, such as nucleosynthesis in stars, where they are known as beta particles. Electrons may be created through beta decay of radioactive isotopes and in high-energy collisions, for instance when cosmic rays enter the atmosphere. The antiparticle of the electron is called the positron; it is identical to the electron except that it carries electrical and other charges of the opposite sign. When an electron collides with a positron, both particles may be totally annihilated, producing gamma ray photons.
Electron. History In the early 1700s, Francis Hauksbee and French chemist Charles François de Fay independently discovered what they believed were two kinds of frictional electricity—one generated from rubbing glass, the other from rubbing resin.
From this, Du Fay theorized that electricity consists of two electrical fluids, vitreous and resinous, that are separated by friction, and that neutralize each other when combined. A decade later Benjamin Franklin proposed that electricity was not from different types of electrical fluid, but the same electrical fluid under different pressures. He gave them the modern charge nomenclature of positive and negative respectively. Franklin thought of the charge carrier as being positive, but he did not correctly identify which situation was a surplus of the charge carrier, and which situation was a deficit. Discovery A beam of electrons deflected in a circle by a magnetic field Robert Millikan Atomic theory
Characteristics. Formation. Observation. Plasma applications. Other applications. History of electromagnetic theory. For a chronological guide to this subject, see Timeline of electromagnetic theory.
The history of electromagnetic theory begins with ancient measures to deal with atmospheric electricity, in particular lightning. People then had little understanding of electricity, and were unable to scientifically explain the phenomena. In the 19th century there was a unification of the history of electric theory with the history of magnetic theory. It became clear that electricity should be treated jointly with magnetism, because wherever charges are in motion electric current results and, magnetism is due to electric current. The source term for electric field is electric charge where as that for magnetic field is electric current( charges in motion). Magnetism was not fully explained until the idea of magnetic induction was developed. Electricity was not fully explained until the idea of electric charge was developed.
Ancient and classical history 18th century Leyden jar .