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When an atom or a group of atoms lose or gain electrons, they are converted into ions or radicals.
The two types of ions are cations (+) and anions (-).
Types of ions
  • The number of protons in an atom equals the number of electrons, giving it electrically neutral.
  • However, atoms attempt to achieve a stable electronic configuration (duplet or octet) during chemical reactions by obtaining or losing one or more electrons based on valency.
  • When an atom gains an electron, it increases the electron count and hence has a negative charge.
  • When an atom loses an electron, it gains a more significant number of protons, resulting in a positive charge.
  • These atoms which give positive or negative charges are called ions.
  • When an atom loses an electron, we assign the ‘+’ sign to it.
  • When an atom gains an electron, we assign the ‘- sign to it.