explain the rutherford's gold foil experiment with the help of diagram?


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Rutherford designed an experiment to study how alpha (α) particles, with a 2+ charge, interact with a piece of very thin gold foil. Rutherford bombarded a very thin piece of gold foil with a stream of positively charged particles known as the alpha particles.

Rutherford observed that:

  1. Most of the α-particles passed through the gold foil undeflected.
  2. Some of the α-particles were deflected by small angles.
  3. A few particles were either deflected by very large angles or were actually reflected back along their path.

Rutherford explained the observations as follows:

  1. Since most of the α-particles pass through the foil undeflected, it indicates that the most of the space in an atom is empty.
  2. Α-particle being positively charged and having considerable mass could be deflected only by some heavy, positively charged centre. The small angle of deflection of α-particles indicated the presence of a heavy positive centre in the atom. Rutherford named this positive centre as nucleus.

You can refer the images given by your friend TOXXIC.

c. Α-particles which make head-on collision with heavy positive centre are deflected through large angles. Since the number of such α-particles is very small, the space occupied by the heavy positive centre must be very small.

On the basis of experiment Rutherford put forward nuclear model of atom. Main points of this model are:

  1. There is positively charged centre in an atom called nucleus.
  2. The electrons revolve around the nucleus in well-defined path.
  3. The size of the nucleus is very small as compared to size of the atom.



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