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X-Ray Electrons

Nature volume 110, page 681 (18 November 1922) | Download Citation



MONG the items of the programme of section A of the British Association at Hull this year, there was one of outstanding interest consisting of the description of some very beautiful experiments which apparently constitute still another triumph for the quantum theory and the atomic theory of Bohr. Both M. le Duc de Broglie and Prof. R. Whiddington, who described the experiments, have recently been working on the same subject, namely, the properties of the electrons ejected from metallic atoms by the incidence of X-rays; and their results are in general agreement. The method of procedure has been to allow a beam of characteristic X-rays of known frequency, for example from a tungsten anticathode, to fall upon a prepared metallic surface, say of silver. The electrons which, as a consequence, emerge from the silver do not all possess, as Barkla at first supposed, equal amounts of energy. They thus have different velocities, and, by the well-known method of the application of a suitable magnetic field, the original mixed bundle of electrons can be differentially deflected, and spread out into a "magnetic spectrum."A focussing device is employed whereby the electrons of the same speed are concentrated upon the same part of the photographic plate, so that each line in the spectrum corresponds to a group of electrons having a definite velocity. There is a certain amount of general fogging of the plate, but the comparatively sharp lines superimposed are unmistakable. Several actual plates were shown both by M. de Broglie and Prof. Whiddington.

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