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Check Your Understanding How many electrons would go through a 24.0-W lamp?

–2.00 C, n e = 1.25 × 10 19 electrons

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The electron-volt

The energy per electron is very small in macroscopic situations like that in the previous example—a tiny fraction of a joule. But on a submicroscopic scale, such energy per particle (electron, proton, or ion) can be of great importance. For example, even a tiny fraction of a joule can be great enough for these particles to destroy organic molecules and harm living tissue. The particle may do its damage by direct collision, or it may create harmful X-rays, which can also inflict damage. It is useful to have an energy unit related to submicroscopic effects.

[link] shows a situation related to the definition of such an energy unit. An electron is accelerated between two charged metal plates, as it might be in an old-model television tube or oscilloscope. The electron gains kinetic energy that is later converted into another form—light in the television tube, for example. (Note that in terms of energy, “downhill” for the electron is “uphill” for a positive charge.) Since energy is related to voltage by Δ U = q Δ V , we can think of the joule as a coulomb-volt.

Part a shows an electron gun with two metal plates and an electron between the plates. The metal plates are connected to terminals of a battery and have opposite charges with a potential difference V subscript AB. Part b shows the photo of an electron gun.
A typical electron gun accelerates electrons using a potential difference between two separated metal plates. By conservation of energy, the kinetic energy has to equal the change in potential energy, so K E = q V . The energy of the electron in electron-volts is numerically the same as the voltage between the plates. For example, a 5000-V potential difference produces 5000-eV electrons. The conceptual construct, namely two parallel plates with a hole in one, is shown in (a), while a real electron gun is shown in (b).

Electron-volt

On the submicroscopic scale, it is more convenient to define an energy unit called the electron-volt    (eV), which is the energy given to a fundamental charge accelerated through a potential difference of 1 V. In equation form,

1 eV = ( 1.60 × 10 −19 C ) ( 1 V ) = ( 1.60 × 10 −19 C ) ( 1 J/C ) = 1.60 × 10 −19 J .

An electron accelerated through a potential difference of 1 V is given an energy of 1 eV. It follows that an electron accelerated through 50 V gains 50 eV. A potential difference of 100,000 V (100 kV) gives an electron an energy of 100,000 eV (100 keV), and so on. Similarly, an ion with a double positive charge accelerated through 100 V gains 200 eV of energy. These simple relationships between accelerating voltage and particle charges make the electron-volt a simple and convenient energy unit in such circumstances.

The electron-volt is commonly employed in submicroscopic processes—chemical valence energies and molecular and nuclear binding energies are among the quantities often expressed in electron-volts. For example, about 5 eV of energy is required to break up certain organic molecules. If a proton is accelerated from rest through a potential difference of 30 kV, it acquires an energy of 30 keV (30,000 eV) and can break up as many as 6000 of these molecules ( 30,000 eV ÷ 5 eV per molecule = 6000 molecules). Nuclear decay energies are on the order of 1 MeV (1,000,000 eV) per event and can thus produce significant biological damage.

Questions & Answers

what are waves
KENNETH Reply
In physics, mathematics, and related fields, a wave is a propagating dynamic disturbance (change from equilibrium) of one or more quantities
Abdikadir
Discuss how would orient a planar surface of area A in a uniform electric field of magnitude E0 to obtain (a) the maximum flux and (b) the minimum flux through the area.
KARAN Reply
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Marcel
Find the net capacitance of the combination of series and parallel capacitors shown belo
jean Reply
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Sharafat Reply
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Viola Reply
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Jyoti Reply
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King Reply
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Jyoti Reply
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Jyoti
If a point charge is released from rest in a uniform electric field will it follow a field line? Will it do so if the electric field is not uniform?
Sadaqat Reply
Maxwell's stress tensor is
Ami Reply
Yes
doris
neither vector nor scalar
Anil
if 6.0×10^13 electrons are placed on a metal sphere of charge 9.0micro Coulombs, what is the net charge on the sphere
Rita Reply
18.51micro Coulombs
ASHOK
Is it possible to find the magnetic field of a circular loop at the centre by using ampere's law?
Rb Reply
Is it possible to find the magnetic field of a circular loop at it's centre?
Rb Reply
yes
Brother
The density of a gas of relative molecular mass 28 at a certain temperature is 0.90 K kgmcube.The root mean square speed of the gas molecules at that temperature is 602ms.Assuming that the rate of diffusion of a gas in inversely proportional to the square root of its density,calculate the density of
Gifty Reply
A hot liquid at 80degree Celsius is added to 600g of the same liquid originally at 10 degree Celsius. when the mixture reaches 30 degree Celsius, what will be the total mass of the liquid?
Gifty
Under which topic
doris
what is electrostatics
Yakub Reply
Study of charges which are at rest
himanshu
Practice Key Terms 4

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Source:  OpenStax, University physics volume 2. OpenStax CNX. Oct 06, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12074/1.3
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