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the smallest part of an element that retains the properties of that element

atomic theory

an explanation of the behavior of matter in terms of tiny particles called atoms


the positively charged particle in the nucleus of an atom


the neutral particle in the nucleus of an atom


the negatively charged particle in an atom, located in orbitals


regions of high probability of finding electrons, electron clouds


well-defined areas where electrons definitely are


the center of the atom, contains protons and neutrons


atomic mass unit, used to measure the mass of atoms and subatomic particles

atomic number

equal to the number of protons in an atom, defines the atom as a certain element

mass number

equal to the number of protons plus the number of neutrons, identifies a specific isotope of an element


an atom of a certain element that varies in its number of neutrons

atomic mass

the weighted average of the masses of all isotopes of an element


an atom that has gained or lost electrons and therefore has a charge


a positive ion, an atom that has lost one or more electrons


a negative ion, an atom that has gained one or more electrons

polyatomic ions

groups of 2 or more covalently bonded atoms that have an overall charge

stable octet

a group of 8 valence electrons, very stable, the goal for ion formation and most bonding

nuclide symbol

a representation of an atom or ion that shows the element symbol, atomic number, mass number, and charge (if present)

principle energy level

a collection of orbitals grouped together based on their common energies

electron configuration

the specific arrangement of electrons in an atom or ion

valence electrons

the electrons in the highest principle energy level



oxidation states

the charges of the most common ions of an element

Lewis dot structure

used to represent valence electron arrangement in an atom or ion

ground state

the energy level that an electron normally occupies, a lower energy state

excited state

a higher energy level that an electron can enter if it absorbs the right amount of energy


a specific amount of energy, electrons can absorb this to enter a higher energy state

bright line spectra

the unique amounts of energy emitted as electrons return to the ground state, specific colors shown as individual bright lines

continous spectrum

the entire ROY G BIV color spectrum

plum pudding model

the model of the model of the atom created by JJ Thomson, consists of electrons on the surface of a positively charged sphere

solar system model

the model of the atom created by Bohr, consists of electrons orbiting the central nucleus

gold foil experiment

an experiment done by Rutherford, proved that atoms are mostly empty space and have a dense, positive nucleus

cathode ray tube experiment

experiment done by Thomson in which he discovered the electron

cannon ball model

the model of the atom created by Dalton, states that atoms are solid spheres with no internal structure

Wave-Mechanical model

the model of the atom created by Schrodinger, states that electrons are in orbitals around the central nucleus, sometimes called the electron cloud model

dual nature of the electron

states that electrons behave as both pure energy and as particles

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