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Elementary Charge

By November 24, 2022No Comments

The elementary charge is the fundamental unit of electric charge. It is the smallest amount of electric charge that can exist independently and is equal to the charge on a proton or electron. The elementary charge was first proposed by Benjamin Franklin in 1750, and its value was first measured by Robert Millikan in 1909.

This value has been measured with great accuracy and is now defined in terms of fundamental physical constants. In SI Units, the elementary charge is the electric charge carried by a single proton or electron. The modern value of the elementary charge is “e” = 1.6021766208×10−19 coulombs (C). The unit of elementary charge in SI units is equal to that of an electron’s electric charge (the so-called “electron rest mass”), making it one of only four physical quantities with dimensions wholly derived from the Planck constant and time (the other three being Planck length/area/volume). The elementary charge is a fundamental physical constant that appears in many equations in electromagnetism and quantum electrodynamics. This value was recommended by an international agreement in 2015 and corresponds to an uncertainty of 0.0000000028%. The elementary charge has been shown to be quantized, meaning that it can only take certain discrete values; this discovery was made by Ernest Rutherford in 1911.

In physics, the elementary charge, usually denoted by “e” or sometimes (qe), is the electric charge carried by a single proton, or equivalently, the magnitude of the electric charge carried by a single electron.

The concept of an elementary charge was first proposed by Gilbert in 1780, who suggested that electricity was made up of small particles called “electrons”. In 1891, J.J Thomson discovered the first subatomic particle – the electron – which he believed carried this unit of negative electricity (although he did not use the term “elementary”). It wasn’t until 1897 that Eugen Goldstein coined the term “proton” for the positively-charged counterpart to Thomson’s electron; however, it wasn’t until 1909 when Ernest Rutherford showed that atoms consisted mostly of empty space with a tiny nucleus at their center containing most of their mass and all their positive charges (i.e., protons). Consequently, it became clear that an atom’s overall electrical neutrality results from having equal numbers of electrons as protons within its nucleus.

Today, we know that there are other types of Elementary Charge carriers such as quarks but for simplicity’s sake and because they are not found naturally occurring on their own), we continue to refer to protons and electrons as those particles which carry a unit Elementary Charge…

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