Atomic Model

The nucleus has been postulated that small and dense to allow the dispersion of alpha particles from thin sheets of gold, as observed in several experiments performed under the direction of Rutherford in 1910-1911 (see figure).

Two studies of atomic scale (polish: Budowa atomu) announced last week could have important implications for the future of computing and information storage. Last Friday, IBM researchers in Zurich have announced that they had measured the time of a single atom can store information. And on Monday, the New Zealand researchers announced they had caught a single atom in a tractor beam of sound and image. Together, these two studies represent an important advance in the development of femtotechnology.

Most alpha particles were observed to pass straight through the gold foil (see inset), which implied that atoms are composed of large amounts of open space. Some alpha particles were deflected slightly, suggesting interactions with other positively charged particles within the atom. Still other alpha particles were scattered at large angles, while a very few even bounced back toward the source. Only a positively charged and relatively heavy target particle, such as the proposed nucleus, could account for such strong repulsion. The negative electrons that balanced electrically the positive nuclear charge were regarded as traveling in circular orbits about the nucleus.

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