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Q & A: Is charge quantized?

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Most recent answer: 06/11/2016
Q:
If an atom is electrically neutral because it has the same amount of protons as electrons and an ion is either + or - because of an unequal amount of protons and electrons, is it possible to have an atom of equal amount of protons and electrons but one or more protons more positive than its opposite electron is negative (or vise versa) and if so what would the outcome?
- George (age 57)
north east england
A:

No, charge comes in precise quantized units, not approximately but exactly equal. Thus even if some of the particles are replaced with other ones with the same nominal charge, (e.g. replace electrons with muons) the neutrality remains exact. The reasons are hidden deep in quantum electrodynamics.

Mike W.


(published on 06/11/2016)

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