What are subatomic particles?

Subatomic particles

The subatomic particles , also called particles elementary , are any of the various units self – contained of matter or energy that are the fundamental constituents of the whole material . Subatomic particles include electrons , the negatively charged, nearly massless particles that nonetheless account for most of the size of the atom, and include the heavier building blocks of the atom’s small but very dense nucleus, the positively charged protons, and the electrically neutral neutrons. But these basic atomic components are by no means the only known subatomic particles.

Subatomic particlesWhat are subatomic particles?

They are particles smaller than atoms and can be elementary or made up of other subatomic particles, such as electrons , protons and neutrons which are made up of quarks .

  • History of subatomic particles
  • Atomic models
  • What are subatomic particles
  • Elemental subatomic particles
  • features
  • Load
  • Examples of subatomic particles

History of subatomic particles

The idea that matter was made up of smaller particles and that a limited number of classes of primary and smaller particles existed in nature has existed in natural philosophy since at least the 6th century BC . These ideas gained physical credibility from the 19th century on, but the concept of ” elementary particle ” underwent some changes in its meaning: in particular, modern physics no longer considers elementary particles indestructible. Even elementary particles can decay or collide destructively; they can cease to exist and create other particles as a result.

The idea that all matter is composed of elementary particles dates back to at least the 6th century BC. C . The philosophical doctrine of atomism and the nature of elementary particles were studied by ancient Greek philosophers such as Leucippus, Democritus, and Epicurus ; ancient Indian philosophers like Kanada, Dignāga and Dharmakirti; Muslim scientists such as Ibn al-Haytham, Ibn Sina, and Mohammad al-Ghazali; and in early modern Europe by physicists like Pierre Gassendi, Robert Boyle, and Isaac Newton .

Those early ideas were founded through abstract and philosophical reasoning rather than empirical observation and experimentation and represented a single line of thought. In the 19th century, John Dalton , with his work on stoichiometry , concluded that each chemical element was composed of only one type of particle. Dalton and his contemporaries believed that these were the fundamental particles of nature and therefore called them atoms , after the Greek word atoms, which means indivisible.

Atomic models

When we refer to the word models we are talking about a representation or diagram in a graphic way that works as a reference to understand something more easily and when we refer to the word atomic , we are talking about concepts related to atoms . Then we can say that atomic models are a graphical representation of the structure having the atoms . An atomic model gives us an explanation or scheme of what atoms are like and how they behave. The atomic models are:

  • Atomic model of Democritus of Abdera
  • Dalton atomic model
  • Thomson’s atomic model
  • Lewis cubic atomic model
  • Rutherford atomic model
  • Bohr’s atomic model
  • Sommerfeld atomic model
  • Schrödinger Atomic Model

What are subatomic particles

The subatomic particles are as follows:

  • Proton : it can be defined as a subatomic particle that is inside the nucleus of the atom and that consists of a positive electric charge . Despite being a stable particle, some types of proton decay generate emission of free protons.
  • Neutron : it is a subatomic particle located inside the atomic nucleus and consisting of a neutral electric charge . It consists of three fundamental particles known as quarks .
  • Electron : it is defined as a subatomic particle located inside the atomic nucleus and consisting of a negative electrical charge . They can also be found in a free state. Through its movement there is an electric current , which generates the energy necessary to turn on the electronic devices that we currently use.
  • Quark : they are elementary particles that interact producing nuclear matter and hadrons .

Elemental subatomic particles

The elementary subatomic particles are:

  • Boson : has an integer or null spin and violates the principle that two electrons cannot occupy the same energy state.
  • Fermion : it is characterized by its intrinsic angular momentum . They comply with the exclusion principle. A nucleus will be a fermion if the total number of protons and neutrons is even or odd respectively.
  • Quarks : they are the constituents of hadrons.
  • Lepton : they are the elementary particles of spin equal to +1/2 and with a lower mass than the mesons. Those with an electrical charge are usually attached to an associated neutrino .
  • Hadrons : it is a subatomic particle formed by quarks and characterized by strong interactions.
  • Neutrino : a neutral elemental nuclear particle with a mass less than that of the electron.


The most outstanding characteristics of subatomic particles are:

  • They can be found in atoms of different elements that have the same number of neutrons .
  • There are atoms of the same element between them with different numbers of neutrons.
  • The half-life of neutrons is 15 minutes and that of protons is millions of years.
  • The mass of atomic particles is very stable thanks to the out of gravity.
  • The electron has a mass of 9.11 × 10−31 kg = 0.001 yg and an electric charge of −1.6 × 10−19Cb.
  • The proton has an electric charge of 1.602 × 10–19 coulombs and a mass of 1.6726 × 10–27 kg.
  • The mass of a neutron is 1.675 × 10-27 kg, about 0.125% greater than that of the proton


  • Proton : has a positive charge equal in magnitude to the charge of the electron. The atomic number of an element indicates the number of protons it has in the nucleus.
  • Electron : has a negative electric charge of approximately -1.602 × 10-19 C).
  • Neutron : Neutrons do not have any kind of electrical charge.

Examples of subatomic particles

Some examples of subatomic particles are as follows:

  • Boson W
  • Boson Z
  • Gluon
  • Higgs’ Boson
  • Boson X
  • Graviton
  • Electron
  • Muon
  • Tau

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