An atom loses electrons to form what?

1 Answer
Oct 17, 2016

An atom loses an electron to form #"a cation"#.


An atom loses electrons to form #"a cation"#, that is a positively charged ion (and one that is attracted towards the negatively charged terminal, the #"cathode"#).

#"Atom"+Deltararr"Atom"^(+) + e^(-)#

Both charge and mass have been conserved. We had to put energy into the equation because the separation of unlike electric charges undoubtedly consumes energy.

Chemists measure this so-called ionization energy in the gas phase, and thus probe electronic, and atomic structure. The ionization energy is known to increase across a #"Period"# of the Periodic Table (as we look at the Table from left to right), and DECREASE down a #"Group"#.