Cathode Rays

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Production of Cathode Rays

Cathode rays are used in older screens.

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Cathode rays

  • A cathode ray is another name for a beam of electrons.
  • The name cathode ray comes from the fact that the beams appear to originate at the cathode.
  • Cathode rays are most commonly produced in discharge tubes.
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Discharge tubes

  • A discharge tube is an evacuated glass tube which has a potential difference applied across it.
  • The potential difference causes electrons to jump from the cathode of the tube to the anode:
    • The cathode is the negative end.
    • The anode is the positive end.
  • When these electrons hit the other end of the glass tube, they release energy as visible light.
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Impact of cathode rays

  • Cathode rays taught us a lot about electrons, such as:
    • They have properties such as mass, momentum, and energy.
    • Their charge.
    • Their properties.

Jump to other topics

1Measurements & Errors

2Particles & Radiation


4Mechanics & Materials


6Further Mechanics & Thermal Physics (A2 only)

7Fields & Their Consequences (A2 only)

8Nuclear Physics (A2 only)

9Option: Astrophysics (A2 only)

10Option: Medical Physics (A2 only)

11Option: Engineering Physics (A2 only)

12Option: Turning Points in Physics (A2 only)

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