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Explain the Rutherford’s alpha particles scattering experiment in detail.

Asked by Topperlearning User 30th March 2016, 5:51 PM
Answered by Expert

Rutherford’s Scattering Experiment

In 1911, Earnest Rutherford, a scientist from New Zealand, overturned Thomson’s atomic model by his gold foil experiment.

  • Rutherford selected a gold foil as he wanted a very thin layer.
  • The gold foil used by Rutherford was 0.004 millimetres in thickness. That is, the foil was about 1000 atoms thick.
  • In his experiment, fast moving α-particles (alpha particles) were made to fall on a thin gold foil.
  • The α-particles are helium ions with a +2 charge. Their atomic mass is 4 u. Hence, a high velocity beam of α-particles has a lot of energy.  
  • These particles were studied by means of flashes of light they produced on striking a zinc sulphide screen.
  • The α-particles are much heavier than the sub-atomic particles present in gold atoms.
  • Hence, he expected the α-particles to pass through the gold foil with little deflection and strike the fluorescent screen.

  Answered by Expert 30th March 2016, 7:51 PM

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