Definition - What does Ionization mean?

Ionization is the process in which a molecule or an atom earns a positive or negative charge by losing or gaining electrons. The molecule or atom forms ions generally in synchronicity with the other chemical changes. Ionization can also result due to the loss of electrons after collision with subatomic particles, other ions, atoms, molecules or via interaction with light. The heterolytic substitution and bond cleavage reactions can lead to the formation of the ion pairs. It can also take place through the radioactive damage or decay by the process of internal conversion.

Petropedia explains Ionization

Ionization is said to be one of the major ways through which radiations like X-rays or charged particles transmit their energy to matter. It generally takes place in liquid solutions and by collisions with gases at low pressures while an electric current passes through them. The electron comprising current forces other electrons out from the molecules of neutral gas if they have sufficient energy and produces ion pairs which contain detached negative electron and resultant positive ion. Some electrons get attached to the neutral molecules of gas resulting in the formation of negative ions. The gases can be ionized in the intermolecular collisions that take place at high temperatures.

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