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How Radiation rays ionize the air?

  1. Oct 26, 2011 #1
    Radiation rays ionize the air and the same amount of negative and positive ions are generated during the ionization process.
    I would like to know more on how negative and positive ions are generated during the ionization process.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on what is going on during the ionization process?
    Thanks in advance for any suggestions
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 27, 2011 #2
    It depends how much detail you're looking for, but I'm guessing not a lot, so basically "radiation" generally refers to high-energy electromagnetic radiation and atom fragments like protons, electrons, alpha particles moving at more-or-less high speeds. All of the above can interact with molecules, atoms, and atomic nuclei to break them apart - they are all composed of positively and negatively charged particles, so when you break them apart you wind up with charged fragments.
  4. Oct 27, 2011 #3
    The least tightly bound constituent of any atom is the outer electrons. Any radiation (charged particles or electromagnetic) will interact with these electrons and effectively knock them off the atom. Hence you end up with negative electrons and positive ions.

    So far so simple, lots of complex processes can happen to the electrons ( including binding with a neutral atom to make a heavy negative ion) buts that’s another story.


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