Velocity of an ion given the potential difference it is accelerated through?

  1. I'm trying to find the mass of an unknown ion and I think the equation I'm down to to find the mass only requires me to determine the velocity before I can calculate mass -- but I don't know how.

    Could anyone help me out and direct me to an equation(s) that would help me find the velocity of some ion given that it was accelerated through a potential difference of 7.0 kV before entering a magnetic field? I'm not familiar with how to find the velocity with just that info. Don't know if this would be relevant, but B=1.2 T.

    Sorry, I'm just clueless. (Don't even know if it is possible to calculate velocity with that... if it's not, please tell me ^^;) Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. nrqed

    nrqed 3,071
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    It's conservation of energy. What you need to know is that if a charge q is accelerated through a potential difference Delta V, then its kinetic energy is equal to simply the absolute value of q times (Delta V). So just set that equal to 1/2 mv^2 and this gives you an equation relating the mass and the speed.

    EDIT: This assumes that the ion had no speed before being accelerated through the potential difference otherwise q Delta V is the change of kinetic energy. And it also assumes that potential of the plates is such that the ion is sped up, not slowed down. But those two assumptions are usually implicit in this type of problem.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2006
  4. Hootenanny

    Hootenanny 9,679
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Just further to what nrqed said, you could work this fact out using the defintion of voltage. When energy is conserved, work done = change in kinetic energy. Now, a defintion of voltage is work done per unit charge, and mathematically is;

    [tex]V = \frac{\text{work}}{q}[/tex]

    and this can be regarranged to obtain;

    [tex]\text{work} = V\times q[/tex]
     
  5. Ok, thanks to you both =) I think I can hash out an answer now.
     
  6. Hootenanny

    Hootenanny 9,679
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Well, heres the place to ask if you want something explained. :smile:
     
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