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Rutherford's Planetary Model of the Atom By 1911 the components of the atom had been discovered.

The atom consisted of subatomic particles called protons and electrons. However, it was not clear how these protons and electrons were arranged within the atom. J.J. Thomson suggested the"plum pudding" model. In this model the electrons and protons are uniformly mixed throughout the atom:

These deflections were not consistent with Thomson's model. Rutherford was forced to discard the Plum Pudding model and reasoned that the only way the alpha particles could be deflected backwards was if most of the mass in an atom was concentrated in a nucleus. He thus developed the planetary model of the atom which put all the protons in the nucleus and the electrons orbited around the nucleus like planets around the sun.

Rutherford tested Thomson's hypothesis by devising his "gold foil" experiment. Rutherford reasoned that if Thomson's model was correct then the mass of the atom was spread out throughout the atom. Then, if he shot high velocity alpha particles (helium nuclei) at an atom then there would be very little to deflect the alpha particles. He decided to test this with a thin film of gold atoms. As expected, most alpha particles went right through the gold foil but to his amazement a few alpha particles rebounded almost directly backwards.

E(light) = Ef - Ei The Bohr Atom n= E(light)/h In 1913 Niels Bohr came to work in the laboratory of Ernest Rutherford. Rutherford, who had a few years earlier, discovered the planetary model of the h= Planck's constant = 6.627x10-34 Js atom asked Bohr to work on it because there were some problems with the model: According to the physics of the time, Rutherford's planetary atom should where "f" and "i" represent final and initial orbits. have an extremely short lifetime. Bohr thought about the problem and knew of the emission spectrum of hydrogen. He quickly realized that the two problems were connected and after some thought came up with the Bohr model of the With these conditions Bohr was able to explain the stability of atoms as well as atom. Bohr's model of the atom revolutionized atomic physics. the emission spectrum of hydrogen. According to Bohr's model only certain orbits were allowed which means only certain energies are possible. These The Bohr model consists of four principles: energies naturally lead to the explanation of the hydrogen atom spectrum: 1) Electrons assume only certain orbits around the nucleus. These orbits are stable and called "stationary" orbits. 2) Each orbit has an energy associated with it. For example the orbit closest to the nucleus has an energy E1, the next closest E2 and so on. 3) Light is emitted when an electron jumps from a higher orbit to a lower orbit and absorbedwhen it jumps from a lower to higher orbit. 4) The energy and frequency of light emitted or absorbed is given by the difference between the two orbit energies, e.g.,

Bohr's model was so successful that he immediately received world-wide fame. Unfortunately, Bohr's model worked only for hydrogen. Thus the final atomic model was yet to be developed.