Structure 1.2—The nuclear atom

Structure 1.2.1—Atoms contain a positively charged, dense nucleus composed of protons and neutrons (nucleons). Negatively charged electrons occupy the space outside the nucleus.

Structure 1.2.2—Isotopes are atoms of the same element with different numbers of neutrons.

Structure 1.2.3—Mass spectra are used to determine the relative atomic masses of elements from their isotopic composition (HL only)

What You’ll Learn:

  • Use the nuclear symbol AXZ to deduce the number of protons, neutrons and electrons in atoms and ions.
  • Perform calculations involving non-integer relative atomic masses and abundance of isotopes from given data.
  • Interpret mass spectra in terms of identity and relative abundance of isotopes (HL only)


Syllabus Links

Structure 1.3—What determines the different chemical properties of atoms?
Structure 3.1—How does the atomic number relate to the position of an element in the periodic table?

Nature of science, Reactivity 3.4—How can isotope tracers provide evidence for a reaction mechanism?

Structure 3.2—How does the fragmentation pattern of a compound in the mass spectrometer help in the determination of its structure?

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