# In the Electric field of a Continuous Charge Distribution, what is conti exactly?

## Main Question or Discussion Point

In the Electric field of a Continuous Charge Distribution, what is "conti.." exactly?

-I know its the "distribution"! but I`m asking about, like, how would the "distribution" be continuous?
-I think the word "symmetry" should be used?
-why is the word "continuous" used?

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Redbelly98
Staff Emeritus
Homework Helper

In a continuous charge distribution, the charge "fills up" a region or volume of space.

Contrast that with a discrete charge distribution, where the charge might be localized at one single point, or on a collection of point particles.

If you have say a current of 10^9 electrons per second (160 picoamps) flowing in a circuit, this is usually consideded to be a continuous current although the signal is comprised of discrete particles. However, if you have a bandwidth of 1 GHz (1 nanosec), there are only about 160 discrete electrons contributing to your signal. There is a Gaussian distribution of electrons in each sample period, leading to a signal fluctuation +/- sqrt(160), called shot or Schottky noise.