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I was wondering what the difference is between ionization energy and electron affinity? It seemed somewhat like we were using the two terms interchangeably in class, but I wasn't sure if this is actually correct. Do they have the same periodic trends?
Ionization energy has to do with the energy required to remove an electron, while electron affinity has to do with the energy spent/released when an electron is added. They are closely related and follow the same trend on the periodic table (increasing up a group and increasing across the period) (↑→). For example, Cl has a high electron affinity because it wants to gain an electron to become stable, likewise, it has a high ionization energy because it really doesn’t want to lose any electrons because that just makes it further from its goal of becoming stable.
I am a bit confused by this too, so if an element has a high electron affinity meaning that it wants to become stable does this mean that it takes a lot of energy to add an electron or a small amount?
If an atom has a high electron affinity, it means a lot of energy is released in the process of gaining the electron. What that implies is that the atom that gained the electron became more stable as energy is released. So, higher electron affinity atoms are easier to gain the electron.
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