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Minggu, 07 September 2008

Photoelectric Effect

The Photoelectric Effect

The details of the photoelectric effect were in direct contradiction to the expectations of very well developed classical physics.

The explanation marked one of the major steps toward quantum theory.

Photoelectric Effect


Most commonly observed phenomena with light can be explained by waves. But the photoelectric effect suggested a particle nature for light.

Analysis of data from the photoelectric experiment showed that the energy of the ejected electrons was proportional to the frequency of the illuminating light. This showed that whatever was knocking the electrons out had an energy proportional to light frequency. The remarkable fact that the ejection energy was independent of the total energy of illumination showed that the interaction must be like that of a particle which gave all of its energy to the electron! This fit in well with Planck's hypothesis that light in the blackbody radiation experiment could exist only in discrete bundles with energy

E = hn

The remarkable aspects of the photoelectric effect when it was first observed were:

?1. The electrons were emitted immediately - no time lag!
?2. Increasing the intensity of the light increased the number of photoelectrons, but not their maximum kinetic energy!
?3. Red light will not cause the ejection of electrons, no matter what the intensity!
?4. A weak violet light will eject only a few electrons, but their maximum kinetic energies are greater than those for intense light of longer wavelengths!

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