By Irving Kaplan
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Additional info for Nuclear Physics (Addison-Wesley Series in Nuclear Science and Engineering)
CHAP. 2-2. The apparatus of J. J. Thomson for measuring the ratio e/m for cathode rays. The only reasonable interpretation of these experimental facts is that the cathode rays consist of negatively charged particles. Thomson, in his fundamental experiments (1897), confirmed the view that the cathode rays consist of negatively charged particles and determined the ratio charge/mass = e/m for the particles. For these experiments, the tube of Fig. 2-1 was modified so that the rays could be made to pass through an electrostatic field.
This quantity can be written as ne,, where n is the number of molecules of gas per cubic centimeter under some standard conditions of temperature and pressure, and e, is the average charge on a gaseous ion. 2 x 101° esu for air a t 15OC and 760 rnm of mercury. 83 X 10" esu. 90 X 10" esu, which is very close to the value found for the ionized gas. If the molecules of the gas are awumed to be singly ionized, they seem to carry, on the average, the same charge as that carried by univalent ions in solution.
When the two elements are connected across a battery, they become oppositely charged and the gold leaves (A and A') separate because of the electrostatic repulsion of their like charges. If the battery is removed and the gas in the condenser is ionized by a radioactive substance, gaseous ions migrate to the oppositely charged elements of the condenser. The net charge on the elements and the potential daerence between them decrease, and the leaves collapse to the position B, B'. The rate of collapse of the gold leaves is a measure of the rate a t which the gas in the chamber is ionized and hence of the intensity of the ionizing radiation, If the radioactive substance emits a-, &, and 7-rays, they all contribute to the ionization but, since the a-rays are by far the strongest ionizing agents, the instrument is really an a-ray electroscope.
Nuclear Physics (Addison-Wesley Series in Nuclear Science and Engineering) by Irving Kaplan