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My knowledge on this subject is a bit rusty, so excuse me if I'm asking the wrong question here. I was taking a look at my high school chemistry books from many years ago, and I noticed that reduction and oxidation reactions take part together; meaning that you can't have oxidation without an oxidizing agent.

My question is, that if we have a source of radiation, that emits alpha particles, which attract electrons, or beta particles which repel them, or a source of powerful electromagnetic radiation like gamma radiation, that can knock electrons off of atoms, and we bombard some gas with radiation, ionizing it, then would it count as oxidation without reduction? What exactly is going on redox-wise? We would have positive ions, but no oxidizing agent, or would we?

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  • $\begingroup$ We would, but not for long. Soon enough, the ions will find their electrons and recombine with them, so the net result chemistry-wise will be "nothing but some heat". That is, unless we have alpha particles. With them, it is just plain redox reaction with well-defined oxidizing agent. $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin Nov 16 '17 at 17:06
  • $\begingroup$ Ionisation is different thing then redox. $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Nov 16 '17 at 17:39
  • $\begingroup$ @IvanNeretin You mean, that He<sup>2+</sup> particles can attract those electrons themselves and get reduced? I'm thinking, because of the mass of alpha particles, they would send electrons flying, and not attract them into an orbit. How would it be a redox then? $\endgroup$ – vahidseo Nov 16 '17 at 17:55
  • $\begingroup$ @Mithoron They sure are different. Oxidation is loss of electrons. In case of my question, it is ionization with positive charge, and loss of electrons, and thus, oxidation. $\endgroup$ – vahidseo Nov 16 '17 at 17:57
  • $\begingroup$ When they would just kick electrons out, that would not be a redox, precisely for the reason explained in my first comment. When they finally will attract them into an orbit, it would. $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin Nov 16 '17 at 18:19

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