# Meaning of applied voltage on electron

Does the applied voltage create a force on electrons to make them move? I have read that electric field is force per charge. Now, metals have free electrons, so applying a voltage will cause these electrons to accelerate. So voltage is analogous to force.

Am I guessing right?

Voltage is also known as "electromotive force".

If you have an electric field across a vacuum, a free electron in that field will accelerate "up" the field towards the positive. This is the operating principle of the cathode ray tube and the particle accelerator.

Particle accelerators use "electron-volt" as a measure of energy imparted to a particle.

Does applying voltage means create a force on electron to move?

Voltage is more a property of a location in space or in a circuit than of an individual electron. It tells you how much energy it would take to move an electron (or other charged particle) to that location.

What causes a force on a charged particle is the electric field. But electric field is equal to the gradient of the voltage, so they are closely related.

if voltage is applied then elctrons will accelerate.

No. Only if there is a gradient to the voltage. Meaning if the voltage is changing as you move about in space. If the voltage is slightly higher "over there" than it is "here" then an electron will feel a force pushing it towards "over there".

• Physically, that's not correct, since potential is a property of each point in space. Voltage already is the difference of potentials at two points. – sweber Jun 27 '15 at 10:56
• @sweber, Voltage is just another word for potential difference when it's measured in volts. Since the question is about a very basic concept I didn't want to get sidetracked in a discussion of terminology. Assume all the "voltages" I mentioned in my answer are measured relative to some common reference (like earth ground). – The Photon Jun 27 '15 at 14:58
• The main point is that raising the potential at some particular point doesn't exert a force on an electron, if, for example, the potential is also raised equally at all the nearby points around it. What exerts a force on an electron is if the potential is changing across space in the region where the electron is located. – The Photon Jun 27 '15 at 15:00