# Rutherford Scattering of an Alpha Particle

• ChrisWM
In summary, the equation provided is for calculating potential energy and involves the distance between two charged nuclei, represented by the variable ## r_{min} ##. It is clarified that ## r_{min} ## is the sum of the radii and that ## z_1 ## is equal to 2, representing the atomic number of an alpha particle (helium nucleus). There was confusion surrounding the values of ## r_{min} ## and ## z_1 ##, but it has been clarified that they are the sum of radii and 2, respectively.
ChrisWM
Homework Statement
What kinetic energy does an a-particle have to have in order to just come into contact with the surface of an iron nucleus in a head on collision in a scattering experiment? (You may assume the iron is fixed and remains at rest during the interaction.) For the radius of the a-particle use ra = 2.60 fm and for the iron nucleus use rFe = 4.59 fm.
Relevant Equations
k=(z1e)(z2e)/(4pi*(eo)(rmin))
I have the equation but I am unsure of what my r min would be. Is it the sum of the radii or the difference? I am also confused on what z1 would be. I am fairly sure z2 is the atomic number of Fe(26) but I am unsure of this as well.
Edit: I just read that z1 could be 2, is this correct?

## r_{min} ## would be the sum of the radii, because in the potential energy formula, ## r_{min} ## is the distance between the centers of the two charged nuclei. (The alpha particle is a helium nucleus, and yes ## z_1=2 ##).

ChrisWM
## r_{min} ## would be the sum of the radii, because in the potential energy formula, ## r_{min} ## is the distance between the centers of the two charged nuclei. (The alpha particle is a helium nucleus, and yes ## z_1=2 ##).
Thank you so much!

## 1. What is Rutherford scattering of an alpha particle?

Rutherford scattering of an alpha particle is a phenomenon in which an alpha particle, a positively charged particle, is deflected by the positively charged nucleus of an atom as it passes through the atom's electric field.

## 2. Who discovered Rutherford scattering of an alpha particle?

Ernest Rutherford, a New Zealand-born physicist, discovered Rutherford scattering in 1911 through his famous gold foil experiment.

## 3. What is the significance of Rutherford scattering?

Rutherford scattering played a crucial role in understanding the structure of atoms. It led to the discovery of the atomic nucleus and the development of the nuclear model of the atom.

## 4. How does Rutherford scattering support the nuclear model of the atom?

Rutherford scattering showed that most of the mass of an atom is concentrated in its nucleus, which is positively charged. This supports the nuclear model, which states that atoms have a small, dense, positively charged nucleus surrounded by negatively charged electrons.

## 5. What factors affect the degree of deflection in Rutherford scattering?

The degree of deflection in Rutherford scattering is affected by the charge and mass of the alpha particle and the nucleus, as well as the distance between them. The closer the alpha particle passes to the nucleus, the greater the deflection will be.

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