This page deals with the electron affinity as a property of isolated atoms or molecules (i.e. in the gas phase). Solid state electron affinities are not listed here.
Electron affinity can be defined in two equivalent ways. First, as the energy that is released by adding an electron to an isolated gaseous atom. The second (reverse) definition is that electron affinity is the energy required to remove an electron from a singly charged gaseous negative ion. Either convention can be used. Whereas ionization energies are always concerned with the formation of positive ions, electron affinities are the negative ion equivalent.
Negative electron affinities can be used in those cases where electron capture requires energy, i.e. when capture can occur only if the impinging electron has a kinetic energy large enough to excite a resonance of the atom-plus-electron system. Conversely electron removal from the anion formed in this way releases energy, which is carried out by the freed electron as kinetic energy. Negative ions formed in these cases are always unstable. They may have lifetimes of the order of microseconds to milliseconds, and invariably autodetach after some time.
The electron affinities Eea of some molecules are given in the table below, from the lightest to the heaviest. Many more have been listed by Rienstra-Kiracofe et al. (2002). The electron affinities of the radicals OH and SH are the most precisely known of all molecular electron affinities.
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The atomic radius of a chemical element is the distance from the centre of the nucleus to the outermost shell of the electron. Since the boundary is not a well-defined physical entity, there are various non-equivalent definitions of atomic radius. Depending on the definition, the term may apply only to isolated atoms, or also to atoms in condensed matter, covalently bound in molecules, or in ionized and excited states; and its value may be obtained through experimental measurements, or computed from theoretical models. Under some definitions, the value of the radius may depend on the atom's state and context.Atomic radii vary in a predictable and explicable manner across the periodic table. For instance, the radii generally decrease rightward along each period (row) of the table, from the alkali metals to the noble gases; and increase down each group (column). The radius increases sharply between the noble gas at the end of each period and the alkali metal at the beginning of the next period. These trends of the atomic radii (and of various other chemical and physical properties of the elements) can be explained by the electron shell theory of the atom; they provided important evidence for the development and confirmation of quantum theory.
In chemistry and atomic physics, the electron affinity (Eea) of an atom or molecule is defined as the amount of energy released or spent when an electron is added to a neutral atom or molecule in the gaseous state to form a negative ion.
X + e− → X− + energyIn solid state physics, the electron affinity for a surface is defined somewhat differently (see below).
The hydrogen anion, H−, is a negative ion of hydrogen, that is, a hydrogen atom that has captured an extra electron. The hydrogen anion is an important constituent of the atmosphere of stars, such as the Sun. In chemistry, this ion is called hydride. The ion has two electrons bound by the electromagnetic force to a nucleus containing one proton.
The binding energy of H− equals the binding energy of an extra electron to a hydrogen atom, called electron affinity of hydrogen. It is measured to be 0.754195(19) eV or 0.0277161(62) hartree (see Electron affinity (data page)). The total ground state energy thus becomes −14.359888 eV.
These tables list values of molar ionization energies, measured in kJ mol−1. This is the energy per mole necessary to remove electrons from gaseous atoms or atomic ions. The first molar ionization energy applies to the neutral atoms. The second, third, etc., molar ionization energy applies to the further removal of an electron from a singly, doubly, etc., charged ion. For ionization energies measured in the unit eV, see Ionization energies of the elements (data page). All data from rutherfordium onwards is predicted.
The speed of sound in any chemical element in the fluid phase has one temperature-dependent value. In the solid phase, different types of sound wave may be propagated, each with its own speed: among these types of wave are longitudinal (as in fluids), transversal, and (along a surface or plate) extensional.
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