Electric field due to an atom

Discussion in 'Physics' started by logearav, Feb 14, 2012.

  1. logearav

    Thread Starter Member

    Aug 19, 2011
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    A photon nearing a nucleus and under its intense electric field splits up into a pair of particles -- an electron and a positron.
    Revered Members,
    What is the source of electric field? Is it the stationary positively charged nucleus or the electrons orbiting around the nucleus?
     
  2. steveb

    Senior Member

    Jul 3, 2008
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    The main source of electric field is the positively charged nucleus.

    The electrons are farther away and have diffuse distribution. Near the nucleus, the orbiting electrons tend to cancel each other's field which provides a "shielding" effect. The nucleus has all protons concentrated in a very small volume. As you get near that nucleus, the electric field from the protons becomes large and is very much larger than the field due to the electrons.
     
  3. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    Thing is, they balance over the volume of the entire atom. At least that is my understanding.
     
  4. steveb

    Senior Member

    Jul 3, 2008
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    What are you referring to as "they"?
     
  5. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    The electrons and protons in an atom. When they are not balanced the atom is ionized, which leads to all sorts of interesting special effects, usually (but not always) a plasma.
     
  6. BillO

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 24, 2008
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    If you are approaching the nucleus, presumably you are well within the electron 'orbitals'. The fields due to the electrons will essentially cancel out, or be much reduced, within the region of the nucleus. Thus leaving only the very strong field of the protons at close range.
     
  7. studiot

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 9, 2007
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    The process is called pair 'production'

    You should also study 'Bremsstrahlung'
    which is (nearly) the reverse process.

    go well
     
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