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Charged Particles in Matter

Last updated date: 27th Feb 2024
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The smallest particle of matter is an atom. In turn, there are three subatomic particles: protons, electrons, and neutrons. Protons and neutrons are the charged particles of an atom, and they are among the widely known and studied subatomic particles. Neutrons are negatively charged particles, whereas protons are positively charged.

For a long time, it was assumed that atoms are the ultimate particles of matter and that they cannot be further split. Experiments undertaken in the second half of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries demonstrated that the atom is not the ultimate particle. Scientists' persistent efforts resulted in the discovery of subatomic particles.

The inability of Dalton's atomic hypothesis to explain certain data sparked the discovery of electrons and protons. Similarly, further research into neutrons was encouraged.

What Are Charged Particles in Matter?

Matter is any material with mass that occupies space. The smallest unit of matter is known as the "atom." With significant discoveries throughout the years, the structure of the atom was ultimately suggested, and it was verified that each atom contains charged particles or subatomic particles. In matter, these charged particles or subatomic particles are negatively charged electrons, positively charged protons, and neutral neutrons.

According to the most recent atomic structure, an atom is made up of a positively charged nucleus in the centre that is surrounded by electrons that rotate in various orbits around the nucleus. The positive charge of the nucleus is because of the positive protons. The structure of an atom is quite similar to that of our solar system, with the Sun at the centre resembling the nucleus and the planets moving in various orbits like electrons.

Types of Charged Particles in Matter

Three types of charged subatomic particles make up matter. They are as follows:

The basic form of an atom’s structure

The Basic form of An Atom’s Structure

  • Electrons are negatively charged subatomic particles that exist in an atom. An electron has a charge of magnitude \[1.602\times {{10}^{-19}}\] Coulomb. An electron has 1:1837 the mass of a proton.

  • Protons are positively charged subatomic particles found in atoms. The charge of a proton is identical to the charge of an electron in magnitude; the charge is positive. A proton has a mass of \[1.673\times {{10}^{-27}}Kg\]. A proton is denoted by an H+ ion which is the nucleus of a hydrogen atom without an electron.

  • Neutrons are neutral subatomic particles found in all atomic nuclei. It has no electric charge at all and a mass of \[1.673\times {{10}^{-27}}Kg\]. It's slightly heavier than a proton but around 1839 times heavier than an electron.

Positively Charged Particles in Matter

  • Protons are the positively charged particles that are present in the nucleus of an atom.

  • Protons are present in the same number as the electrons in an atom.

  • Ernest Rutherford is credited with discovering protons.

  • It has a mass of \[1.676\times {{10}^{-24}}\] grams.

  • It has a charge of \[+1.602\times {{10}^{-19}}\]Coulombs.

Negatively Charged Particles in Matter

  • Electrons are subatomic particles that are negatively charged.

  • All elements' atoms contain an equal number of electrons and protons.

  • J. J. Thomson is credited with discovering electrons since he was the first to precisely calculate an electron's mass and charge.

  • The mass of an electron is tiny when compared to the mass of a proton. It has a mass that is equivalent to \[1/1837\] times the mass of a proton.

  • Its charge is equivalent to \[-1.602\times {{10}^{-19}}\] Coulombs.

Neutrally Charged Particles in Matter

  • Neutrons are subatomic particles that are neutrally charged.

  • Due to the variation in the number of neutrons in their respective nuclei, the masses of two distinct isotopes of an element differ.

  • In 1932, James Chadwick discovered the neutron.

  • They were found during an experiment in which an alpha particle bombarded a thin sheet of beryllium.

  • A neutron has a mass of \[1.676 \times {{10}^{-24}}\] grams.

Interaction of Charged Particles

When charged particles interact, energy is transferred from the charged particles to the materials through which they move. When two charges that are similar connect, they repel one another; when two charges that are opposite interact, they attract each other.

Two forms of particle-particle interactions—collisions and long-lasting interactions when particles are packed—are significant in the majority of applications. In actuality, internal stresses arise as a result of particle deformation during interaction.

Only a tiny portion of the energy of heavy charged particles may be transferred in a single collision. In a collision, it barely deflects at all. As a result, heavy charged particles move through matter virtually directly while continually losing energy in many collisions with atomic electrons.

Important Questions

1. Describe the term charged particles in matter.

Ans. A charged particle carries one that carries an electric charge. There are two kinds of electric charges: positive and negative. Two items with an excess of reputational force on each other.

2. What are matter's charged particles?

Ans. An electric charge exists in a charged particle. It might be an ion, such as a molecule or atom, having an excess or shortage of electrons in comparison to protons. It might also be an electron, a proton, or another primary particle, all of which are thought to have the same charge (except antimatter).

Practise Questions

1. Force due to magnetic field and velocity is

  1. At right angles to one another

  2. At an oblique angle to one another

  3. At 180 degree angles to each other

  4. Opposite to each other

Ans. At right angles to one another

2. Hall voltage is proportional to

  1. Current

  2. Electric field

  3. Magnetic Flux density

  4. All of the above

Ans. Magnetic flux density

3. The force on a moving charge in a uniform magnetic field is determined by

  1. Magnetic flux density

  2. The charge on the particle

  3. The speed of particle

  4. All of above

Ans. Magnetic flux density

4. A charged particle is travelling perpendicular to the direction of a homogeneous magnetic field. Which of the following will change?

  1. Speed

  2. Velocity

  3. Direction of motion

  4. Both options 2 and 3

Ans. Both options 2 and 3


In conclusion, electrons, protons, and neutrons are the three charged subatomic particles that make up an atom. Later, the structure of the atom was established by several findings. A positively charged nucleus, created by the positively charged proton and neutral neutron at the centre of an atom, rotates around it like the solar system's orbiting electrons do. An atom is more stable because each electron in its fixed orbit around the nucleus has a distinct amount of energy. An electron's charge is $-1.602 \times 10^{-19}$, whereas the charge of a proton is approximately identical but is positively charged. The lightest subatomic particles are electrons, whereas protons and neutrons, which make up the majority of an atom's mass, are only found in the nucleus.

Competitive Exams after 12th Science

FAQs on Charged Particles in Matter

1. Create two tasks that will help you understand the nature of charged particles in matter.

You can notice static electricity if you run a plastic comb through your hair and then place it near little pieces of paper. The comb is dragged to the sheet of paper. Since opposing charges attract, the charged comb creates an opposite charge in the paper and the paper sticks to the comb.

After rubbing a woollen or synthetic pullover against a balloon, place it against a wall or ceiling. The attraction of opposing charges holds the balloon in place.

2. What exactly is a charged particle of matter? Is there energy in charged particles?

An atom is the smallest particle of matter. In turn, there are three subatomic particles: protons, electrons, and neutrons. Protons and neutrons are the charged particles of an atom, and they are among these subatomic particles. Neutrons are negatively charged particles, whereas protons are positively charged.

When charged particles have enough energy, they can move through matter faster than the speed of light in that substance. This event results in the emission of photons of light.

3. Briefly explain the discovery of subatomic particles.

Many scientists worked together to uncover the presence of charged particles in an atom. By 1900, it had been shown that the atom was an indivisible particle containing at least one subatomic particle, the electron, discovered by J.J. Thomson. In 1886, long before the electron was found, E. Goldstein identified unique radiations in a gas discharge and termed them canal rays.