Draw a plot of \alpha -particle scattering by a thin foil of gold to show the variation of the number of the scattered particles with scattering angle. Describe briefly how the large angle scattering explains the existence of the nucleus inside the atom. Explain with the help of impact parameter picture, how Rutherford scattering serves a powerful way to determine an upper limit on the size of the nucleus.

Answers (1)

The data in this graph shows that a large number of \alpha -particle do not suffer large scattering and a small number of alpha particle suffers large scattering, which shows that:

(i) the massive positively charged nucleus occupies a small region

(ii) most of the space is empty in an atom.

From the following diagram, it is clear that for small impact parameter, particle suffers large scattering. Thus it shows the upper limit to the size of the nucleus.

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