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PHYSICS

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Atoms and Nuclei
AIEEE Syllabus
Alpha-particle scattering experiment; Rutherford’s model of atom; Bohr
model, energy levels, hydrogen spectrum. Composition and size of nucleus,
11
CHAPTER
atomic masses, isotopes, isobars; isotones. Radioactivity-alpha, beta and
gamma particles/rays and their properties; radioactive decay law. Mass-
energy relation, mass defect; binding energy per nucleon and its variation
with mass number, nuclear fission and fusion

RUTHERFORD’S ATOMIC MODEL THIS CHAPTER


Rutherford, a New Zealand born physicist, suggested a model after carefully
analysing the results of alpha-particle scattering experiment.
COVERS :
 Rutherford’s Atomic
Alpha particle Scattering Experiment
Deflected by model
small angles
 Alpha Particle
scattering
-particles  experiment
Bounced  Bohr’s Atomic
Back
model
 Nuclear radius
 Nuclear density
Deflected by Thin gold
large angles foil (104 atoms thick)  Nuclear Energy
levels
Important Points and Observations
 Nuclear force
1. Most of -particles went straight.
2. 1 in 8000 deflected by an angle more than 90º.  Binding Energy
3. Atom has a lot of empty space in it.  Radioactivity
4. The entire mass and positive charge is confined to extremely small central
 Properties of , 
core called nucleus, i.e., Rutherford discovered nucleus.
and -rays
 Nuclear Fission
+2e v   Nuclear reactor
b  Nuclear Fusion
(Ze)

Nucleus
5. Impact parameter (b) :

1 Ze 2 cot  / 2
b
4 0  1 2
 mv 
 2 
when b = 0,  = 180°
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6. Fraction of -particles N() scatted at a particular angle , is given as :

1
(a) N()  Z2 (b) N() 

sin 4  
2

7. Distance of closest approach

1 1 (Ze) (2e)
mv 2 
2 4 0 r0
n
m, 2e
1 2Ze 2 r0
 r0 
4 0  1 2
 mv 
2 
Rutherford proposed that whole mass and positive charge is in a core, i.e., nucleus and electrons revolve
around it in circular orbits so that electrostatic force of attraction provides centripetal force.

Drawbacks
According to Maxwell’s theory, accelerated charges radiate electromagnetic waves and loose energy. Therefore,
when an electron revolves in circular orbit, it is subjected to centripetal acceleration and thus, should radiate
energy and the radius should decrease continuously, till it falls into nucleus.

BOHR’S ATOMIC MODEL


In 1913 Neils Bohr, a Danish physicist, introduced a revolutionary concept i.e., the quantum concept to explain the
stability of an atom. He made a simple but bold statement that “The old classical laws which are applicable to
bigger bodies cannot be directly applied to the sub-atomic particles such as electrons or protons.

Postulates of Bohr’s Theory


1. Electron revolves round the nucleus in circular orbits.
2. Electron can revolve only in those orbits in which angular momentum of the electron about the nucleus is an
h
integral multiple of .
2

nh
i.e., mvr 
2

n = principal quantum number of the orbit in which electron is revolving.


3. Electrons in an atom can revolve only in discrete circular orbits called stationary energy levels (shells). An
electron in such a shell is characterised by a definite energy, angular momentum and orbit number. While an
electron is in any of these orbits it does not radiate energy although it is accelerated.
4. Electrons can jump from one stationary orbit to another stationary
orbit. Electrons in outer orbits have greater energy than inner E3
orbits. The orbiting electron emits energy when it jumps from a E2
higher energy state to a lower energy state and absorbs energy
when it makes a jump from lower orbits to higher orbits. E1

E2 – E1 = h  +
where, E2 = higher energy state
E1 = lower energy state Nucleus
and  = frequency of radiation emitted.

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Mathematical Analysis of Bohr’s Theory


Electric force of attraction provides the centripetal force
v
1 (Ze) e mv 2
 ...(i)
4 0 r 2 r r Electron
where, m = mass of electron +
Nucleus
v = velocity (linear) of electron +Ze
r = radius of the orbit in which electron is revolving
Z = atomic number of hydrogen like atom

nh
Angular momentum about the nucleus, mvr  ...(ii)
2

(a) Velocity of electron in nth orbit

Z  e2  Z
v    .v 0 ...(iii)
n  2 0 h  n

where,

c
v0  = 2.2 × 106 m/s
137

v0 1
where c = 3 × 108 m/s = speed of light in vacuum,  = fine structure constant
c 137

(b) Radius of the nth orbit

n 2  0 h 2  n 2
r    .r0 ...(iv)
Z  me 2  Z

where,
r0 = 0.53 Å.
(c) Total energy of electron in n th orbit
From equation (i)

1 Ze 2
K.E.  mv 2 
2 8 0 r

1 (Ze) ( e)
and P.E.   2 K.E.
4 0 r

P.E. = – 2 K.E.
 | P.E.| = 2 K.E.

Z 2  me 4  Z2

E  .E
n 2  8 20 h 2  n2 0

where, E0 = –13.6 eV.


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(d) Time period of revolution of electron in nth orbit

2r n3
T   2 .T0
v Z
where,
T0 = 1.51 × 10–16 sec.
(e) Frequency of revolution in nth orbit

1 Z2
f   3 .f0
T n
where,
f0 = 6.6 ×1015 Hz.
(f) Magnetic field at the centre due to revolution of electron

 0I  e  e v
B  0  0 
2r 2r T 2r 2r

2
v Z  Z  Z3
B  B    B
r2 n  n2  n5
(g) Wavelength of photon

1  1 1 2
  R  2  2 Z
λ  n1 n 2 
where,
 is called wave number..
RH = Rydberg constant
= 1.09677 × 107 m–1
= 1.09677 × 10–3 Å–1 (for stationary nucleus).

Energy Level Diagram of Hydrogen Atom


0 eV n=

– 0.28 eV n=7

– 0.38 eV n=6
Humphrey
–0.54 eV n=5
Pfund
–0.85 eV n=4
Brackett
–1.51 eV n=3
Paschen
–3.4 eV n=2
Balmer

–13.6 eV n=1
Lyman
Light is emitted from the hydrogen atom only when the electron makes emmission transitions between
stationary states.

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HYDROGEN SPECTRUM
Electron jumps from n2 to n1.
n1 n2 Name of series Spectral region Wave number l = wavelength (in Å)

1 1
1 2,3,4, ..., n Lyman U-violet   R 2  2  912 – 1216 Å
1 n 

 1 1
2 3,4, ...., n Balmer Visible   R 2  2  3645 – 6561 Å
2 n 

1 1
3 4,5, ..., n Paschen Infra-red   R 2  2  8201 – 18746 Å
3 n 

 1 1 
4 5,6, ..., n Brackett Infra-red   R 2  2  14580 – 40501 Å
 4 n 

 1 1
5 6,7, ..., n Pfund Far - I.R.   R 2  2 22782 – 74588Å
5 n 

 1 1
6 7,8, ..., n Humphrey Far - I.R.   R 2  2 32822 – 123751Å
6 n 

Note: (i) Wavelength (Å) of a photon of energy (eV) is given by


12400
 Å
E (eV )
(ii) Momentum of a photon of energy E
E h
p 
c 

Bohr’s theory is unable to explain the following facts:


(1) Any spectral line of hydrogen atom is not a single line but a collection of several lines very close together.
(2) The structure of multielectron atoms is not explained.
(3) No explanation for using the principles of quantisation of angular momentum.
(4) No explanation for Zeeman effect. If a substance which gives a line emission spectrum is placed in a
magnetic field, the lines of the spectrum get splitted up into a number of closely spaced lines. This
phenomenon is known as Zeeman effect.

BINDING ENERGY
Binding energy of a system is defined as the energy released when its constituents are brought from infinity
to form the system. BE = –TE.

Excitation Energy
Energy needed to take the atom from its ground state to an excited state is called excitation energy.
e.g. The hydrogen atom in ground state needs 10.2 eV to move to its first excited state.

Excitation Potential
The potential through which an electron should be accelerated to acquire excitation energy is called the
excitation potential.
e.g. The excitation potential of hydrogen atom in first excited state is 10.2 V.

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Ionisation Potential
The potential through which an electron must be accelerated to acquire ionization energy is called ionisation
potential.
The following points should be kept in mind :
1. Ionisation potential of hydrogen atom in ground state is 13.6 V.

13.6Z 2
2. Ionisation potential of Bohr’s atom in ground state is V.
n2
3. Energy of electron in He+ ion in first excited state = 13.6 eV i.e., same as energy of electron in hydrogen
atom in ground state.
4. When some energy is supplied to hydrogen sample, its atoms move to their excited state. When they
come back to ground state, a number of spectral lines are emitted.
5. Let an electron jumps from n = 1 to n = N (say). Then the number of different ways in which it can come
N(N  1)
back to ground state = Number of different spectral lines = .
2
6. Number of spectral lines possible when an electron makes a transition from n = N to n = M are
(N  M ) (N  M  1)
.
2
k
7. If the force between an electron and a proton at a distance r varies as F  4 or potential energy
r
k , then applying Bohr’s model of H-atom, we get
U 3
r
k mv 2
 …(1)
r4 r
nh
mvr  …(2)
2
On solving we get v  n3, r  n–2, Energy  n6

NUCLEI
Nucleus was discovered by Rutherford. It is the core of an atom. It is made of protons and neutrons.
mn  1.6749286  10 27 kg ; mp = 1.6726231 × 10–27 kg
Mass is also written in form of energy E = mc2
1 a.m.u. = 1.6605402 × 10–27 kg = 931.5 MeV/c2
A
Nucleus is represented by Z X
A  mass number Z  atomic number
(Protons  Neutron) (Protons)
Isotones : Same number of neutrons but different atomic number.
Isobars : Same mass number but different atomic number.

Some Important Points :


1. Positive charge is densely concentrated at the center of atom forming its nucleus.
2. Nucleus contains most of the mass of an atom although its is very small. (Rnucleus  10–4 Ratom).
3. Atom is mostly empty space, electrons are confined only to a limited part of this empty space.
4. The average radius of a nucleus is given by
R = R0A1/3 where R0 = 1.2 × 10–15 m = 1.2 fm
A = atomic mass number
5. The density of a nucleus is of the order of 1027 kg/m3. This value is same for the nuclei of all atoms i.e.
the density of a nucleus does not depend on mass number.

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NUCLEAR FORCE
To bind nucleons together, there must be a strong attractive force of different kind. It must be strong enough
to overcome the repulsion between nuclear protons. Initially, the nuclear force was thought as a fundamental
force. But the actual picture is that it is a spill-over effect of the “strong force” that binds quarks together to
form neutrons and protons.

Some Important Points :

1. These are short range forces. They become negligible for distance more than 10 fm. This is called Nuclear
Range.
2. They are much stronger than electromagnetic forces (50 - 60 times stronger) at reparation less than 1 fm.
3. They are independent of charge.
4. The nuclear force is same between a Proton – Proton and Neutron – Neutron or Neutron – Proton.
5. This is not a central force.
6. It depends on the spin. Same spin means greater force.
7. Nuclear forces are derived from quark-quark interaction.
8. Protons, neutrons and mesons can experience strong nuclear force.
9. Electrons, neutrino, antinutrino do not experience strong nuclear force.
10. Neutrino, antineutrino can experience weak nuclear force.

BINDING ENERGY
The amount of energy needed to separate the constituent nucleons to large distances is called binding energy.
If the nucleons are initially well separated and are brought to form the nucleus, this much energy is released.
BE  ( ZM p  NM n  M ) c 2 (where M = mass of nucleus and N = A – Z)

Binding Energy Curve


B.E./nucleon is very low for light nuclei. This means energy will be released if two nuclei combine to form a
single middle mass nucleus. The release of energy in a fusion process is based on this fact.

1C
8.5 MeV
C
B.E./nucleon  N Fe
(MeV) He Be
Li
S BE./nucleon is maximum for
A = 62 (Ni)
It is 8.79460 ± 0.00003 MeV/nucleon
H

Mass Number
Likewise, the low B.E. for heavy nuclei indicates that if a single heavy nucleus breaks up into middle mass
nuclei, energy will be released. Release of energy is fission process is based on this fact.

RADIOACTIVITY
The following important points should be kept in mind :
1. It is the property by virtue of which a heavy element disintegrates itself without being forced by any external
agent to do so.
2. Discovered by Henry Bacquerel in 1896.
3. Radioactivity is not affected by temperature, pressure or chemical combination.
4. There is absolutely no way to predict whether any given nucleus in the sample will decay during the next
second. All have an equal chance.

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Law of Radioactive Disintegration


dN
  N
dt
dN
  N ( is decay constant)
dt

 N  N 0 e  t

dN
Activity A     N 0 e  t
dt

A  A0 e  λt

Units of activity :
1 bacquerel = 1 decay/second (Bq is SI unit of activity)
1 curie = 1Ci = 3.7 × 1010 Bq.
1 rutherford = 106 disintegration/second

Half Life (T1/2)


ln 2 0.693
T1/ 2  
 
Application : Let R1 be activity of radioactive substance at t = T1 and R2 be the activity at t = T2, then
R1 = N1 and R2 = N2
Number of nuclei disintegrated in (T2 – T1) is

R1  R2 (R1  R2 )T
N1  N 2  
 ln 2
where T is the half life of radioactive substance.
Average Life (Tav)
1 T1/ 2
Tav   or Tav = 1.44 T1/2
 ln 2
or
T1/2 = 0.693 Tav
The following important points should be kept in mind :
1. After one mean/average life N = 37% of N0 (0.37 N0)
2. In two mean/average life N = 0.135 N0.
3. log N = log N0 – t
log R = log R0 – t
log N

N or R log N0
Slope = –
N0 or R0 –lt
N = N0e
–lt t
R = R0e

N0/2 or R0/2
0.37 N0
t
T1/2 Tav

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4. As radiation passes through the matter, the intensity goes on decreasing as I = I0e–x , where x is
thickness.
5. -decay 238 234Th + 4He2, Q = 4.25 MeV
92U  90
32 32
6. -decay (a) –
 decay 15 P  16 S  e  

64 64
(b) + decay 29
Cu  28 Ni  e  

Actually in – decay, n  p + e– +  (Antineutrino) and in + decay p  n + e+ +  (neutrino).


7. The above decay shows that neutrons and protons are not fundamental particles.
8. Antinutrino and nutrino cannot be detected easily. Its concept was introduced to conserve angular
momentum.
9. At an instant, only one decay can take place, either -decay or -decay.

Application
A radio active material is produced at a constant rate P. If  is the disintegration constant of the radioactive
material, then
P

N(t)

t
Number of Nuclei of radioactive material at t = 0
N (t = 0) = 0
Number of Nuclei of radioactive material at t = 
P
N (t = ) =

This is also the maximum number of nuclei that can be formed.

Application
A radioactive sample can decay in two ways simultaneously having decay constants for the two processes
as A and B,
The effective half life of the radioactive sample becomes

log 2 0.693
 T1/ 2        
A B A B

If, TA and TB are the half lives of the sample due to two different processes respectively, then effective half life
can also be written as

 1 1 1 
   
T 
 1/ 2 TA TB 

NUCLEAR FISSION
When a heavy nucleus with large rest mass disintegrates
to form light nuclei, the process is called nuclear fission.
Before finally breaking into two parts, the heavy nucleus Energy = E1 Energy = E2 Energy = E3
has to undergo a distortion which gradually increases to E2 > E1 > E3
break the nucleus.

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NUCLEAR REACTOR
In a nuclear reactor, controlled and steady chain reaction takes place.
Requirements for a nuclear reactor :
(1) Fissionable fuel : Natural uranium contains 0.7% of radioactive isotope (235U92) and remaining 99.3%
238
of 92 U
. Thus uranium is enriched to increase percentage of radioactive isotope to about 3%.

(2) Neutron leakage : Fraction of neutrons lost due to leakage is controlled by using large reactor core.
(3) The neutron energy : Fission is induced by slow moving neutrons (also called thermal neutrons). So,
they are slowed down by using moderator. Heavy water is used for this purpose. Graphite is best
moderator.
(4) Control rods – A series of rods made up of cadmium or Boron are used to regulate the availability of
neutrons available for fission, so that the pace of the fission reaction can be controlled.
(5) Coolant – A fluid is circulated through the core and the moderator, which extracts energy generated
within the reactor and prevents the increase in temperature.
cold coolant

hot coolant

NUCLEAR FUSION
When two light nuclei fuse or combine to form a heavy nucleus then the reaction is called nuclear fusion
reaction. To bring the light nuclei within the separation of about a femtometre so that they can fuse together
is, however, a difficult task.
One needs a very high temperature (about few million degree celsius) to carry out nuclear fusion. Fusion is
the main source of energy in the sun.



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