1. Photon: It is the type of elementary particle having zero rest mass and moving with the speed
2. Photoelectric effect: The emmission or rejection of electron from metallic surface when
of incident light falls upon it, called photoelectric effect.
The electron which are emitted by this process is called photoelectron.
Some important terms related to photoelectric effect are:
i. Threshold frequency: The minimum frequency of incident radiation which is required to just
emitt the electron
from metallic surface is called threshold frequency. It is denoted by
ii. Threshold wavelength: The maximum wavelength of incident radiation which is required to just
electron from metallic surface is called threshold wavelength. It is denoted by
iii. Work function: The minimum amount of energy which is required to just emitt the electron
surface, is called work function. It is denoted by
It is given by, = h
where h= planck's constant = 6.62 x 10-34 Js
The value of work function is different for different material.
Quantum theory of Radiation
Statement: It states that,"The radiation emitted or absorbed by the body is not in continuous fashion
but it is in
the form of bundle or packet of energy". Each packet has definite amount of energy called photon.
If be the frequency of emitted radiation then energy of photon is givn by,
E = h
E = (h x c) /
where h= planck's constant
c= speed of light
= wavelength of emitted radiation
Experimental study of photoelectric effect
Figure shows the experimental setup for the study of photoelectric effect. It consist of an
evacuated glass tube
with two electrodes A and C called anode and cathode. A variable potential difference is applied
across the two
electrodes which is measured by voltmeter. The current which flows through the circuit is measured
When the suitable frequency of light incident on a cathode through
window W, the photoelectrons are emitted.
The photoelectrons are accelerated and moves towards anode due to negative potential and flows
through the external circuit.
As a result, electric current is setup is called photoelectric current.
A) Keeping the potential difference remains constant between the electrodes as intensity of
the photo electric current is also increases. The graph between intensity of light and photoelectric
shown in figure graph:-
This graph shows that the strength of photoelectric current is directly proportional to intensity of
light. It means number of electron emitted from metallic surface is depend on intensity of light.
B) As the polarity of battery in reverse i.e. cathode is at '+ve' potential whereas anode is
potential. In this case, emitted photoelectrons are deaccelerated due to positive potential. As a
result, few number of electrons are able to reach anode and finally few amount of current flows
the external circuit.
As the '-ve' potential at anode is further increased the photoelectric current decreases and finally
becomes zero. Such negative potential at anode at which photoelectric current becomes zero is called
stopping potential or cut-off potential.
If vmax be the maximum velocity acquired by photoelectrons then gain in potential energy
at stopping potential is
Einstein Photoelectric equation:
Statement: According to Einstein, the light of frequency (υ) consist photon
each of energy (hυ). When photon of light
frequency is incident on a metallic surface than the energy is completely transferred to
the free electrons in the
metal. A part of energy is used to emitt the electron from the metallic surface and rest
of it is used to utilize
in kinetic energy to the emitted electron.
If Φ0 be the minimum energy spend in order to liberate the electron from the
metallic surface and
(1/2) mv2max be the maximum kinetic energy K.E. acquire by
Therefore, Energy of photon= work function + K.E.
i.e. hυ = Φ0 (1/2) mv2max
If υ0 be the threshold frequency of given metal,
from equation (i) and equation (ii)
hυ = hυ0 + (1/2) mv2max
Equation (iii) is the required Einstein photoelectric equation. The equation
(iii) may also be written as,
(1/2) mv2max = h( υ - υ0) <------ (iv)
i. If υ is less than υ0 then K.E. becomes negative which is
ii. If υ is equal to υ0 then K.E. becomes zero which is
possible but no photoelectrons are emitted.
iii. If υ is greater than υ0 then K.E. becomes positive. In
this condition, photoelectrons are emitted.
Millikan's experimental measurement of
Millikan's Experiment is used to verify Einstein photoelectric equation and to determine
the value of planck's constant.
It consist of metal drum 'D' with three cylindrical metal cap coated with alkali metal.
The drum is kept at the centre evacuated
glass bulb. K is the knife which is used to clean the metal cap time to time. 'W' is the
window through which light is passed.
The cathode (C) is connected to the negative potential through rheostate whereas
positive potential is connected to the drum
Working: When suitable frequency of incident radiation falls on a
metal cap photoelectrons are emitted and moves
towards cathode. As cathode is connected to negative potential so only few energetic
electrons are able to reach the cathode as a
result few amount of current flows through the circuit. As negative potential further
the photoelectric current decreases and becomes
zero and corresponding stopping potential is noted. If vmax be the maximum
velocity acquired by photoelectrons, then gain in potential
energy at stopping potential is,
hυ= hυ0 + (1/2)mv 2max
from equation (i) and equation (ii)
hυ= hυ0 + eV0
eV0= hυ - hυ0
V0 = (hυ/e)-(hυ0/e)
V0 = (hυ/e)+(-hυ0/e) <------ (iii)
Equation (iii) is the equation of straight line between stopping potential and
frequency of light having slope h/e and making and intercept
(-hυ/e) on the stopping potential axis.
If the graph is plotted between frequency of light and stopping potential over
wide range of frequency the graph was obtained as below,
Hence, experimental graph is an agreement with equation (iii). Hence Einstein
photoelectric equation was verified.
To find the value of planck's constant, the slope is obtained from the graph
between V0 and υ is (h/e). On multiplying it with charge
of an electron i.e.
h= slope x charge of electron
(h/e) x e
6.62 x 10-34 Js
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