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In the actual experiment a ray of alpha particles were shot at a gold foil. If the ray was replaced by electrons would the deflection increase?

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The electron-electron repulsion will cause the electrons to bounce back completely without passing through the gold foil.

In the case that the momentum of the electrons provide more energy than the metal bond of the gold foil.

the foil would be penetrated like bullets through a thin wall. This could be the reason that a material like gold which is so much more heavier than any particle was used.

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  • $\begingroup$ That depends on the electron energy. Low energy electrons can be shielded with thin materials, but in the GeV range electrons can penetrate several mm to cm of Aluminum (and a smaller but still substantial thickness of a heavy element like gold). The real problem is that unlike alpha-particles, electrons will produce much stronger Bremsstrahlung (gamma rays) in high Z materials like gold and lead. The theory for the interaction of electrons with matter is therefor a little more complex than that of low energy alpha radiation. $\endgroup$ May 30, 2023 at 6:39

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