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Atom is the smallest part of an element. An atom consists of a nucleus and electrons rotating around the nucleus .

Nucleus has positively charged protons and un charged neutrons.

Atomic Structure

Protons have positive charge Electrons have negative charge. Neutrons have no charge

Each type of atom has a certain number of electrons and protons that distinguishes it from the atoms of all other elements. Ex: Oxygen has 8 protons and 8 neutrons in the nucleus , 8 electrons rotating around the nucleus Hydrogen has one proton in the nucleus and one electron rotating around the nucleus Periodic Table

Example : At normal case Carbon atom has 6 positive charged protons and 6 negative charged electrons So the net charge is zero

Helium Atom

Neutron Electron


Helium has two protons and two neutrons in its nucleus and two electrons rotating around the nucleus

The number of protons and electrons are equal in electrically balanced (neutral) atom.

Electrons are rotating at different orbits or shells around the nucleus. Different shells have different energy levels. Electrons rotating in a shell near to nucleus have less energy. Electrons rotating away from nucleus have loosely bounded to the atom.

The maximum number of electrons (Ne) that can exist in a shell can be calculated by the formula Ne=2

The maximum number of electrons in first shell is Ne=2 2 =2

Electrons that are away from nucleus have higher energy and less tightly bound to the atom. This is because of force of attraction between positively charged protons and negative charged electrons decreases with increasing distance with nucleus.

The outermost shell is called valence shell and electrons in this shell are called valence electrons.

When an atom absorbs energy from heat or light , for example the energies of the electrons are raised. If a valence electron acquires sufficient energy and escapes from the outer shell of the atom. The particular electron is called Free electron

The atom which lose one electron has excess positive charge, is called positive ion

The atom captures free electrons have excess electrons (negative charge) is called Negative ion.

A conductor is a material that easily conducts electrical current The valence electrons are loosely bound to the atom Example: Copper, Aluminum, Gold, Silver

An Insulator is a material that does not conduct electric current under normal conditions. The valence electrons are tightly bound to the atom Example: Rubber, Plastics, Glass, Mica and Quartz





Glass Mica Ceramic Copper

Iron Metal Silicon


A semi conductor is a material ,its ability to conduct electrical current between conductor and insulator Example : Silicon, Germanium

Energy gap: The energy required to free an electron from valance band to conduction band.

The gap is very big for insulators.

The gap overlaps in the case of conductors. There is always a large number of free electrons in conductors.

Semi conductors have much narrower energy gap, some valence electrons jump into the conduction band and become free electrons.

Silicon and Germanium Silicon has 14 electrons in each atom and 4 electrons in the valance band(third shell) Germanium has 32 electrons in each atom and 4 electrons in the valence band(forth shell)

A Silicon atom shares two valence electrons of its four adjacent atoms to form a Silicon crystal. Sharing of valence electrons produces covalent bonds that holds the atom together. The crystal with no impurities called Intrinsic crystal.