How Do You Find Electrons?


Quick Answer

According to Reference.com, "An atom consists of a small, dense, positively charged nucleus surrounded by electrons that whirl about it in orbits, forming a cloud of charge." In a broad sense of the term, electrons are everywhere and in everything, as they are one of the elementary particles that make up an atom.

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Full Answer

About.com describes electrons as having a negative charge and a small mass in relation to the nucleus of an atom. When an element is in its pure form, it has the same number of electrons and protons, which gives it an overall neutral charge. However, most elements lose or gain electrons in order to form ions. A cation is an ion that loses an electron to become positively charged. An anion has gained an electron and is negatively charged. Cations and anions join to form ionic compounds that have an overall neutral charge by sharing electrons.

According to Reference.com, high-energy electrons have the ability to exist outside of atoms in the form of beta rays, a specific type of radioactive decay. Working with high-speed electron beams shows electrons how to follow the properties of other waves on the electromagnetic scale. The electron microscope uses these electron waves.

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