Particle collision

  • Thread starter asdf1
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  • #1
asdf1
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why does an alpha particle have the smallest distance to an atom if it aprroaches the nucleus head on?
 

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  • #2
jtbell
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Because if the alpha comes in head on, it can convert all of its kinetic energy to potential energy, coming to a complete stop momentarily before rebounding in the opposite direction. If it doesn't come in head on, it never comes to a complete stop, so its maximum potential energy is smaller.
 
  • #3
asdf1
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oh right!!!
thanks!!! :)
 

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