An ion is an electrically charged atom or molecule that receives a positive or negative electric charge by electron emission or absorption. Negatively charged ions, so-called anions, are formed by the absorption of electrons, as a result of which the negatively charged electrons are present in excess compared to the protons. Positively charged ions, so-called cations, are formed by electron emission, since a positive excess of charge is created by the protons. Non-metals such as chlorine or bromine preferably form anions, since they achieve a stable noble gas configuration by electron uptake. In contrast, metal atoms usually achieve this by electron emission.
Salts are composed of an ionic lattice, so, for example, table salt (sodium chloride) consists of sodium and chloride ions, which are arranged in a lattice. If the salt is dissolved in water, the lattice disintegrates, and the ions are enveloped by water molecules. This process is a dissociation. Solutions containing ions conduct the electric current and are therefore also called electrolytes. Ions, among other things, play a decisive role in cells and organisms, where they can, foAn ion is an electrically charged atom or molecule. Its charge comes about because an ion consists of different numbers of positively (protons) and negatively (electrons) charged particles.
This is how ions differ from atoms: the latter are made up of just as many protons as electrons. Therefore, they are outwardly neutral. But how does such an uncharged atom become a charged ion now? It’s simple: the atom absorbs or emits electrons. There are two options here:
If the ion lacks one or more electrons, it has an electron deficiency: it is therefore positively charged. Here you are talking about a cation.
On the other hand, if the ion has one or more electrons in addition, it has an excess of electrons: it is negatively charged. That’s what you call anion.
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What are ions?
In chemistry, the charge of an ion is indicated by a superscript plus or minus sign. For example, Na+ stands for the simply positively charged sodium ion.r example. contribute to the membrane potential at membranes by charge distribution.