Problem: An atom of mass M is initially at rest, in its ground state. A moving (nonrelativistic) electron of mass me collides with the atom. The atom+electron system can exist in an excited state in which the electron is absorbed into the atom. The excited state has an extra, "internal," energy E relative to the atom's ground state. (Figure 1)What is the least possible initial kinetic energy Kmin the oxygen atom could have and still excite the cesium atom?

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FREE Expert Solution

Considering that the collision is completely inelastic, the least possible kinetic energy of electron can be expressed as:

K.Emin=E(M+meM), where 

E is the energy needed to ionize the cesium atom = 3.9 eV, M is the mass of cesium atom = 133u, and me is the mass of oxygen atom = 16u.

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Problem Details

An atom of mass M is initially at rest, in its ground state. A moving (nonrelativistic) electron of mass me collides with the atom. The atom+electron system can exist in an excited state in which the electron is absorbed into the atom. The excited state has an extra, "internal," energy E relative to the atom's ground state. (Figure 1)

What is the least possible initial kinetic energy Kmin the oxygen atom could have and still excite the cesium atom?

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Based on our data, we think this problem is relevant for Professor Tu's class at WESLEYAN.