An electron is a subatomic particles of spin 1/2. It couples with photons and, thus, is electrically charged. It is a lepton with a rest mass of kg and an electric charge of C, which is the smallest known charge possible for an isolated particle (confined quarks have fractional charge). The electric charge of the electron e is used as a unit of charge in much of physics.
Electron pairs within an orbital system have opposite spins due to the Pauli exclusion principle; this characteristic spin pairing allows electrons to exist in the same quantum orbital, as the opposing magnetic dipole moments induced by each of the electrons ensures that they are attracted together.
Current theories consider the electron as a point particle, as no evidence for internal structure has been observed.
As a theoretical construct, electrons have been able to explain other observed phenomena, such as the shell-like structure of an atom, energy distribution around an atom, and energy beams (electron and positron beams).
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- Chao, A.W.; Tigner, M. (1999). Handbook of Accelerator Physics and Engineering. World Scientific. pp. 155, 188. ISBN 981-02-3500-3.