Figure 1.33 shows tracks of three charged particles in a uniform electrostatic field. Give the signs of the three charges. Which particle has the highest charge to mass ratio?
Opposite charges attract each other and same charges repel each other. It can be observed that particles 1 and 2 both move towards the positively charged plate and repel away from the negatively charged plate. Hence, these two particles are negatively charged. It can also be observed that particle 3 moves towards the negatively charged plate and repels away from the positively charged plate. Hence, particle 3 is positively charged.
The charge to mass ratio (emf) is directly proportional to the displacement or amount of deflection for a given velocity. Since the deflection of particle 3 is the maximum, it has the highest charge to mass ratio.