Subatomic particles are the tiny pieces that come together to make up a single atom. There are three kings of subatomic particles that determine the chemical properties of an atom: Protons, Neutrons and electrons.
- Electrons – It is understood that electrons fall into orbits or levels of energy. Such orbits are not visible paths such as a planet’s orbit or a celestial body. The explanation is that atoms are extremely small, and only so many atoms at that level can be seen by the best microscopes. For the binding of individual atoms together, electrons are also necessary. Without this atomic binding power, matter could not interact in the many reactions and ways we see every day. This association is called atomic bonding between an atom’s outer electron layers.
- Protons – Protons are almost identical in size to neutrons and much smaller than electrons. A proton has a mass about 1,836 times that of an electron, but the masses of protons and neutrons are less than one percent different from each other. Protons have a positive electrical charge, also referred to as the elementary charge or the simple charge, or a + 1 charge.
- Neutrons – Neutrons bind through the strong force with protons and each other in the nucleus, thereby moderating the repulsive forces between protons and stabilizing the nucleus.
- Photons – One of these quanta, the smallest possible piece of energy in a light wave, is a photon coined by American chemist Gilbert Lewis [ 1875–1946 ] in 1926.