Physics Unit 1 AS AQA A Vocabulary

  • Created by: Bryony
  • Created on: 14-12-14 11:49
Proton number (a.k.a. atomic number)
The number of protons in the nucleus (equal to the number of electrons).
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Nucleon number (a.k.a. mass number)
The number of protons and neutrons in the nucleus.
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Specific charge
Ratio of a particle's charge to its mass, given in coulombs per kilogram (C/kg^-1).
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Fundamental particle
A particle that cannot be split up into anything smaller (e.g. and electron).
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An atom with the same number of protons but different numbers of neutrons.
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Electromagnetic force
A fundamental force that causes interactions between charged particles. Virtual photons are the exchange particle.
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Gravitational force
A fundamental force which causes attraction between objects with a force proportional to their mass.
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Strong nuclear force
A fundamental force with a short range which is repulsive at very small separations and attractive at small separations. Responsible for stability of nuclei.
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Nuclear decay
When unstable nuclei emit particles to become more stable.
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Alpha decay
A type of decay in which an unstable nucleus of an atom emits an alpha particle. Only happens in atoms with more than 82 protons.
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Alpha particle
A particle made up of two protons and two neutrons.
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Beta minus decay
A type of decay in which an unstable nucleus of an atom emits a beta-minus particle (electron) and an antineutrino.
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The antiparticle of a neutrino.
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Electromagnetic spectrum
A continuous spectrum of all the possible frequencies of electromagnetic radiation.
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A discrete wave packet of EM waves.
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Positron (a.k.a. beta plus particle)
The antiparticle of an electron.
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A particle with the same rest mass and energy as its corresponding particle, but equal and opposite charge.
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A lepton with almost zero mass and zero charge.
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The name given to all particles.
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The name given to all antiparticles.
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Pair production
A process of converting energy to mass in which a gamma ray photon has enough energy to produce a particle-antiparticle pair.
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The process by which a particle and its antiparticle meet and their mass gets converted to energy in the form of a pair of gamma ray photons.
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A particle that is affected by the strong nuclear force.
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A type of hadron made up of three quarks (e.g. protons, neutrons).
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A type of hadron made up of a quark and an antiquark (e.g. pions, kaons).
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Baryon number
The number of baryons in a particle.
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Weak interaction
A fundamental force that has a short range and can change the character of the quark.
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A fundamental particle that is NOT affected by the strong nuclear force.
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Lepton number
The number of leptons in a particle (split into the lepton electron number and the lepton muon number).
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A fundamental particle that makes up hadrons.
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The antiparticle of a quark.
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Quark confinement
The phenomenon that quarks cannot be isolated singularly and therefore cannot be directly observed.
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Exchange particle
A virtual particle which allows forces to act in a particle interaction.
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Virtual particle
A particle that only exists for a short amount of time (e.g. an exchange particle).
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Feynman diagram
A diagram used to represent a particle interaction.
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Electron capture
The process of a proton-rich nucleus capturing an electron to turn a proton into a neutron, emitting a neutrino.
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Electron-proton collision
The process of an electron colliding with a proton and producing a neutron and a neutrino.
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Electromagnetic repulsion
When two particles with equal charge get close to each other, they repel.
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Photoelectric effect
The emission of electrons from a metal when light of a high enough frequency is shone on it.
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Threshold frequency
The lowest frequency of light that when shone on a metal will cause electrons to be released from it.
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Work function
The minimum amount of energy required for an electron to escape a metal's surface.
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Electron volt
The kinetic energy carried by an electron after it has been accelerated through a potential difference of 1 volt.
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Ground state
The lowest energy level of an atom.
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The movement of an electron to a higher energy level in an atom.
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Ionisation energy
The energy required to remove an electron from an atom.
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Line absorption spectrum
A light spectrum with dark lines corresponding to different wavelengths of light that have been absorbed.
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Line emission spectrum
A spectrum of bright lines on a dark background corresponding to different wavelengths of light that have been emitted from a light source.
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When waves spread out as they pass through a narrow gap or go round obstacles.
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Wave-particle duality
All particles can be shown to have both particle and wave properties. Waves can also show particle properties.
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Electron diffraction
Experiment with the thing that looked like a giant bulb. Shows that electrons have wave-like properties.
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The rate of flow of charge in a circuit. Measured in amperes (A).
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A unit of charge. 1 coulomb = amount of charge that passes in 1 second when the current is 1A.
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A component used to measure the current flowing through a circuit. Attach in series.
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Potential difference
The work done in moving a unit charge between two points in a circuit (voltage).
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A component used to measure the potential difference across another component in a circuit. Attach in parallel.
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A component had a resistance of 1 ohm if a p.d. of 1V across it makes a current of 1A flow through it. Measured in ohms.
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Ohm's law
Provided the temperature is constant, the current through an ohmic conductor is directly proportional to the potential difference across it.
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Ohmic conductors
A component that has a fixed resistance for a particular conductor.
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I-V characteristic
A graph which shows how the current (I) flowing through a component changes as the p.d. (V) across it is increased.
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When their temperature rises, they can release more charge carriers and their resistance decreases.
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A resistor with a resistance that depends on its temperature (semiconductor).
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A component designed to allow current flow in one direction only.
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Light dependent resistor (LDR)
A resistor with a resistance that depends on the intensity of light falling on it. The resistance decreases with increasing light intensity.
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The resistance of a 1m length of material with a 1m^2 cross-sectional area. Measured in ohm-meters.
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A material that has zero resistivity when cooled below a transition temperature.
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The rate of transfer of energy OR the rate of doing work. Measured in watts (W), where 1W = 1J/s.
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Internal resistance
The resistance created in a power source when electrons collide with atoms inside the power source and lose energy.
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Electromotive force (e.m.f.)
The amount of electrical energy a power supply transfers to each coulomb of charge.
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Lost volts
The energy wasted per coulomb overcoming the internal resistance of a power source.
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Kirchhoff's 1st law
The total current entering a junction = the total current leaving a junction
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Kirchhoff's 2nd law
The total e.m.f. around a series circuit = the sum of the p.d.s across each component
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Potential divider
A circuit containing a voltage source and a pair of resistors. The voltage across one of the resistors is used as an output voltage. If the resistors aren't fixed, the circuit will be capable of producing a variable output voltage.
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A variable resistor with a third adjustable terminal.
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Alternating current
A current that changes with time in a regular cycle.
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Direct current
An electric current flowing in one direction only.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


The number of protons and neutrons in the nucleus.


Nucleon number (a.k.a. mass number)

Card 3


Ratio of a particle's charge to its mass, given in coulombs per kilogram (C/kg^-1).


Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4


A particle that cannot be split up into anything smaller (e.g. and electron).


Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5


An atom with the same number of protons but different numbers of neutrons.


Preview of the back of card 5
View more cards


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