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Electron

What is an Electron Particle?

Electron, the lightest subatomic or elementary particle of atom carries a negative charge, −1.602176634 × 10−19 coulomb or −4.8 × 10−10 esu. Like other particles, an electron has mass, energy, momentum (particle properties), and wavelength or frequency (wave properties) derived from the de-Broglie relation (E = hν = hc/λ).

The distribution of electrons for nitrogen atom is given below the picture,

Electron arrangement structure of nitrogen atom

Electrons are discovered by an experiment involving the conduction of electricity through gases at low pressure. The rest mass of an electron is 9.1093837015 × 10−28 g or 9.1093837015 × 10−31 kg. It is approximately 1/1836 of the mass of the proton particle.

Who Discovered Electrons?

The electrons were discovered by the British physicist J.J. Thomson in 1897 during the investigation of the properties of the cathode rays over twenty years. Gas discharge tubes contain a positive electrode (anode) and a negative electrode (cathode) with provisions of evacuation given below the picture,

Electron, the lightest subatomic or elementary particle of atom carries a negative charge and very small mass observed by conduction of electricity in gases

Under normal conditions, gases are poor conductors of electricity but at low pressure, conduction of gases occurs. When the gas discharge tubes are partially evacuated and the electrodes are connected to the source of high-voltage electricity, an electric current flows through the tubes.

The flow of current produces glow or rays of light that originate from the cathode surface and travel from cathode to anode. These rays are called cathode rays.

Thomson showed that the rays or electromagnetic radiation can be bent from their path both by the electric and magnetic fields. From the above facts, he proved that the cathode rays are made up of negatively charged subatomic particles or electrons of an atom.

Thomson measured the charge to mass or e/m ratio (1.76 × 10−8) of an electron. The absolute charge was determined by the American physicists Robert Millikan and Harvey Fletcher in their oil-drop experiment.

Charge and Mass of Electron

Electrons are negatively charged elementary subatomic particles of an atom. Hence the negative charge carries by an electron,
e = − 4.8 × 10−10 esu
= − 1.602176634 × 10−19 coulomb (C)

Mass of an electron = m and charge = e. Charge by mass (e/m) ratio for electron = 1.76 × 108 coulomb/g.

From the above formula, the mass of an electron particle,
me = (1.602176634 × 10−19)/(1.76 × 108) g
= 9.1093837015 × 10−28 g
= 9.1093837015 × 10−31 kg

How to Calculate the Charge of Electron?

Electrolysis of silver from an aqueous solution of silver salt is a suitable process for the determination of the charge of electrons. A constant current I (ampere) passes through the silver nitrate solution during the time t.

The amount of electricity required to decompose one gram equivalent substances is called one faraday (F) = 96496 ≈ 96500 coulombs. The charge of 96500 coulombs can be considered as the charge carried by a mole of electrons.

Therefore, the charge associated with an electron,
= (96500)/(6.02 × 1023)
= 1.60 × 10−19 coulomb = 4.8 × 10-10 esu

Distribution of Electrons in Different Shells

The periodic table is drawn up by chemists primarily based on the atomic number of the chemical elements. The atomic number represents the net positive charge on the nucleus or the number of electrons surrounding the nucleus of an atom in its normal neutral condition.

Rutherford model, and Bohr model suggest the distribution of electrons in different shells. According to modern atomic structure, the distribution of atomic orbitals of an atom is given below the picture,

Electron arrangement in orbital energy level

Electron Distribution of Elements

Distribution of electrons in different orbits
Element Electron per shel
Atomic number
Symbol
Name
K L
M
N
O
P
Q
1s 2s 2p 3s 3p 3d 4s 4p 4d 4f 5s 5p 5d 5f 6s 6p 6d 6f 7s 7p 
1 H Hydrogen 1
2 He Helium 2
3 Li Lithium 2 1
4 Be Beryllium 2 2
5 B Boron 2 2 1
6 C Carbon 2 2 2
7 N Nitrogen 2 2 3
8 O Oxygen 2 2 4
9 F Fluorine 2 2 5
10 Ne Neon 2 2 6
11 Na Sodium 2 2 6 1
12 Mg Magnesium 2 2 6 2
13 Al Aluminum 2 2 6 2 1
14 Si Silicon 2 2 6 2 2
15 P Phosphorus 2 2 6 2 3
16 S Sulfur 2 2 6 2 4
17 Cl Chlorine 2 2 6 2 5
18 Ar Argon 2 2 6 2 6
19 K Potassium 2 2 6 2 6 1
20 Ca Calcium 2 2 6 2 6 2
21 Sc Scandium 2 2 6 2 6  1 2
22 Ti Titanium 2 2 6 2 6  2 2
23 V Vanadium 2 2 6 2 6  3 2
24 Cr Chromium 2 2 6 2 6  5 1
25 Mn Manganese 2 2 6 2 6  5 2
26 Fe Iron 2 2 6 2 6  6 2
27 Co Cobalt 2 2 6 2 6 7 2
28 Ni Nickel 2 2 6 2 6  8 2
29 Cu Copper 2 2 6 2 6  10 1
30 Zn Zinc 2 2 6 2 6  10 2
31 Ga Gallium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 1
32 Ge Germanium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 2
33 As Arsenic 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 3
34 Se Selenium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 4
35 Br Bromine 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 5
36 Kr Krypton 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6
37 Rb Rubidium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6 1
38 Sr Strontium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6 2
39 Y Yttrium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  1 2
40 Zr Zirconium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  2 2
41 Nb Niobium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  4 1
42 Mo Molybdenum 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  5 1
43 Tc Technetium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  5 2
44 Ru Ruthenium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  7 1
45 Rh Rhodium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  8 1
46 Pd Palladium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10
47 Ag Silver 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 1
48 Cd Cadmium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 2
49 In Indium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 2 1
50 Sn Tin 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 2 2
51 Sb Antimony 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 2 3
52 Te Tellurium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 2 4
53 I Iodine 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 2 5
54 Xe Xenon 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 2 6
55 Cs Caesium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 2 6 1
56 Ba Barium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 2 6 2
57 La Lanthanum 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 2 6 1 2
58 Ce Cerium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 2 2 6 2 2 22
59 Pr Praseodymium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 3 2 6 2
60 Nd Neodymium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 4 2 6 2
61 Pm Promethium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 5 2 6 2
62 Sm Samarium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 6 2 6 2
63 Eu Europium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 7 2 6 2
64 Gd Gadolinium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 7 2 6 1 2
65 Tb Terbium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 9 2 6 2
66 Dy Dysprosium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 10 2 6 2
67 Ho Holmium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 11 2 6 2
68 Er Erbium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 12 2 6 2
69 Tm Thulium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 13 2 6 2
70 Yb Ytterbium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6 2
71 Lu Lutetium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  1 2
72 Hf Hafnium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  2 2
73 Ta Tantalum 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  3 2
74 W Tungsten 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  4 2
75 Re Rhenium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  5 2
76 Os Osmium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  6 2
77 Ir Iridium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  7 2
78 Pt Platinum 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  9 1
79 Au Gold 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10 1
80 Hg Mercury 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10 2
81 Tl Thallium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10 2 1
82 Pb Lead 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10 2 2
83 Bi Bismuth 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10 2 3
84 Po Polonium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10 2 4
85 At Astatine 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10 2 5
86 Rn Radon 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10 2 6
87 Fr Francium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10 2 6 1
88 Ra Radium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10 2 6 2
89 Ac Actinium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10 2 6  1 2
90 Th Thorium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10 2 6  2 2
91 Pa Protactinium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10  2 2 6  1 2
92 U Uranium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10  3 2 6  1 2
93 Np Neptunium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10  4 2 6  1 2
94 Pu Plutonium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10  6 2 6 2
95 Am Americium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10  7 2 6 2
96 Cm Curium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10  7 2 6 1 2
97 Bk Berkelium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10  9 2 6 2
98 Cf Californium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10  10 2 6 2
99 Es Einsteinium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10  11 2 6 2
100 Fm Fermium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10  12 2 6 2
101 Md Mendelevium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10  13 2 6 2
102 No Nobelium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10  14 2 6 2
103 Lw Lawrencium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10  14 2 6 2 1
104 Rf Rutherfordium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10  14 2 6  2 2
105 Db Dubnium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10  14 2 6 3 2
106 Sg Seaborgium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10  14 2 6 4 2
107 Bh Bohrium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10  14 2 6 5 2
108 Hs Hassium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10  14 2 6 6 2
109 Mt Meitnerium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10  14 2 6 7 2
110 Ds Darmstadtium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10  14 2 6 9 1
111 Rg Roentgenium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10  14 2 6 10 1
112 Cn Copernicium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10  14 2 6 10 2
113 Nh Nihonium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10  14 2 6 10 2 1
114 Fl Flerovium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10  14 2 6 10 2 2
115 Mc Moscovium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10  14 2 6 10 2 3
116 Lv Livermorium 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10  14 2 6 10 2 4
117 Ts Tennessine 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10  14 2 6 10 2 5
118 Og Oganesson 2 2 6 2 6  10 2 6  10 14 2 6  10  14 2 6 10 2 6

Modern Concept of Atomic Structure

The electrons are distributed in the orbitals in a definite order and the detailed modern structure of an atom is obtained from the electronic configuration of the atom.

The distribution of electrons in different shells not only provides the size of an atom but also suggests properties like chemical bonding, ionization energy, electron affinity, electronegativity, oxidation number or state, electromagnetic spectrum, thermal conductivity, etc.

Due to the stable electron arrangement of inert or noble gases like helium, neon, krypton, and xenon are chemically inert. From helium to xenon chemical reactivity increases because the size of the atom increases and ionization energy decreases.

The elements like fluorine, chlorine, and bromine are highly electronegative and reactive elements but the elements like lithium, sodium, and potassium are highly electropositive or reactive elements.

Fluorine, chlorine, and bromine easily gain one electron to form the next noble gas configuration, and lithium, sodium, and potassium stabilize by losing one electron from the valence shell.