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Structure of Atom

Subatomic Particles : Discovery and Characteristics

Subatomic Particles 

Electrons, protons and neutrons are the three main subatomic particles that form an atom.

Discovery of Electron (Michael Faraday’s Cathode Ray Discharge Tube Experiment)

          Experimental Setup: 

  • Glass tube is partially evacuated (low pressure inside the tube).

  • Very high voltage is applied across the electrodes.


      Stream of particles move from the cathode (−ve) to the anode (+ ve). These particles are known as cathode ray particles.


  • Cathode rays move from the cathode to the anode.

  • Cathode rays are not visible; they can be observed with the help of phosphorescent or fluorescent materials (such as zinc sulphide).

  • These rays travel in a straight line in the absence of an electric or magnetic field.

  • The behaviour of cathode rays is similar to that of the negatively charged particles (electrons) in the presence of an electrical or magnetic field.

  • Characteristics of cathode rays do not depend upon the material of the electrodes and the nature of the gas present in the tube.

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