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Ionization ENERGY -Why removal of electron from gaseous atom

  1. Apr 19, 2015 #1
    Why ionization energy is defined as the energy required to remove the outermost, or highest energy, electron from a neutral atom in the gas phase. Why can't we remove electrons from a solid,can we?
    If not ,what's the reason?I think we can not remove electrons from a solid because in gas phase molecules or gaseous atoms are far apart so in order to remove electron we just have to overcome attraction of nucleus of that particular atom from which we are removing electrons.But in solid state ,there is attraction between adjacent atoms ,so to remove electrons we have to overcome attraction of several atoms .Am I right?

    Sorry if my reasoning is just not making any sense.But in order to correct myself I will have to show my thinking, my views.Doesn't matter right or wrong.
    Thanks.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 19, 2015 #2

    Borek

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    Staff: Mentor

    Ionization energy is a property of an atom. If you were removing the electron from a solid it would be a property of a bulk solid.
     
  4. Apr 19, 2015 #3
    Why we can have isolated gaseous atom but not isolated solid atom?
     
  5. Apr 19, 2015 #4

    Borek

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    Isolated solid atom is no longer part of a solid.
     
  6. Apr 19, 2015 #5
    That means isolated solid atoms do exist.
     
  7. Apr 19, 2015 #6

    Borek

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    No, it doesn't mean that. Isolated atom is not in contact with anything, so it is indistinguishable from the gaseous atom.
     
  8. Apr 19, 2015 #7
    In definition of ionization energy ,it is gaseous atom not isolated gaseous atom,right?I mean
    And what about isolated gaseous atom?Is it still part of gas.
     
  9. Apr 19, 2015 #8

    Borek

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    Atoms in gas are separate entities that - for most time - don't interact (the lower the pressure, the rarer the collisions that are the only interaction). Atoms in solid are held together by their interactions and their orbitals overlap, creating bands (which are in a way equivalents of orbitals spreading throughout the whole solid). These are entirely different situations.
     
  10. Apr 19, 2015 #9
    Oh!I now understand the whole concept.Thanks a lot @Borek.
     
  11. Apr 21, 2015 #10

    DrDu

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    Science Advisor

    This also has a purely technical aspect: The ionization energy in the gas phase is much easier and more precisely being measured than some energies in the solid state.
     
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