How is nitrogen-14 an anion?

Since it has 7 protons, neutrons, and electrons, wouldn't it not be an anion since it does not have a negative electric charge?

1 Answer
Oct 20, 2017

An atom of nitrogen-14 is not an anion.


First and foremost, if an atom has equal numbers of protons inside the nucleus and of electrons surrounding the nucleus, then it is electrically neutral, i.e. it is neither a cation nor an anion.

In order for an atom to be an anion, it must have more electrons surrounding the nucleus than protons inside the nucleus.

You know that

#"net charge" = "no. of protons " - " no. of electrons"#

This shows that equal numbers of protons and electrons correspond to a net charge of #0#, i.e. the atom is neutral.

If you have

#"no. of electrons " > " no. of protons"#

then you get

#"net charge" < 0#

In this case, the atom is an anion because it carries a negative net charge.

Also, keep in mind that the identity of the isotope is irrelevant when it comes to the net charge of the atom.

In this case, nitrogen-14 denotes the isotope of nitrogen that has #7# protons and #7# neutrons inside the nucleus. But since the number of neutrons does not influence the net charge of the atom, it is irrelevant in this regard.

In order for nitrogen-14, #""^14"N"#, to be an anion, it must have #7# protons and #7# neutrons inside the nucleus and #10# electrons surrounding the nucleus.

In this case, you have

#"net charge" = 7 - 10 = -3#

which means that the anion carries a #3-# net charge. The symbol for a nitrogen-14 anion will be


As a final note, don't forget to review the difference between neutral atoms, cations, and anions.