Electron Affinity and Ionization Energy

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Jessica Beroukhim 3K
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:07 am

Electron Affinity and Ionization Energy

Postby Jessica Beroukhim 3K » Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:13 pm

Why is it that electron affinity can be positive or negative but ionization energy is always positive?
(I asked this in discussion and my TA suggested I post it here, but I know there probably won't be an easy answer)

Cynthia Tsang
Posts: 52
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:07 am
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Re: Electron Affinity and Ionization Energy

Postby Cynthia Tsang » Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:39 pm

Well electron affinity and ionization are fundamentally different things. Electron affinity is the change in energy of an atom for adding an electron. When observed in reactions, it's shown that adding an electron is actually exothermic, meaning it releases energy, instead of needing energy to add electrons. Ionization, on the other hand, is the process of removing an electron. This is the opposite reaction, removing instead of adding an electron. Through experimental processes, it turns out that ionization requires energy, or is endothermic, so that is why it is positive.


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