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Definition: electron

An elementary particle that orbits the nucleus of an atom. There is one electron for every proton in the nucleus, which keeps the atom "electrically neutral," as electrons are considered to have a negative charge and protons a positive charge.

Electron Imbalance Creates a Charge
When the number of electrons and protons are unequal, the atom is electrically charged. If there are more electrons than protons, it is negatively charged; if fewer electrons, it is positively charged. Electrical generators strip electrons away from their atoms to provide electricity, and electrons are removed, as well as added, to enable other electrical effects (see ion and n-type silicon). See atom, quantum state, wave-particle duality and photon.