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Santa Rosa Junior College

Physics Department
Spring 2006, Physics 4D
Instructor: Younes Ataiiyan
By: Fermin Pureco, David Henderson, and
Ivan Sanchez
Hertz's Spark Gaps
-Heinrich Hertz, in 1887, made observations of
the photoelectric effect and of the production
and reception of electromagnetic (EM) waves.
-His receiver consisted of a coil with a spark gap,
whereupon a spark would be seen upon
detection of EM waves. He placed the
apparatus in a darkened box in order to see the
spark better; he observed, however, that the
maximum spark length was reduced when in the
-When removed, the spark length would
increase. Hertz concluded his months of
investigation and reported the results obtained.
-He did not further pursue investigation of this
QuickTime and a
effect, nor did he make any attempt at TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor
are needed to see this picture.
explaining how the observed phenomenon was
brought about.

Source: www.epsic.ch/Branches/Audiovideo/audio/la
Joseph John Thomsons CRT
-In 1899, Joseph John Thomson
investigated ultraviolet light in Crookes
-In the research, Thomson enclosed a
metal plate (a cathode) in a vacuum tube,
and exposed it to high frequency
radiation. It was thought that the
oscillating electromagnetic fields caused QuickTime and a
TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor
the atoms' field to resonate and, after are needed to see this picture.
reaching a certain amplitude, caused a
subatomic "corpuscle" to be emitted, and
current to be detected.
-The amount of this current varied with the
intensity and color of the radiation. Larger Source: www.luminet.net/~wenonah/history/rife.htm

radiation intensity or frequency would

produce more current.
Teslas Radiant Energy
-On November 5, 1901, Nikola
Tesla received the U.S. Patent
685957 (Apparatus for the
Utilization of Radiant Energy)
-This apparatus describes
radiation charging and
discharging conductors by
radiant energy".
-Tesla used this effect to
charge a capacitor with energy
by means of a conductive Source: www.frank.germano.com/radiantenergy.htm
Lenards Observations
-In 1902, Philipp von Lenard observed the variation in
electron energy with light frequency. He used a powerful
electric arc lamp which enabled him to investigate large
changes in intensity, and had sufficient power to enable him
to investigate the variation of potential with light frequency.
-His experiment directly measured potentials, not electron
kinetic energy: he found the electron energy by relating it to Quic kTime and a
TIFF (Unc ompres sed) decompress or
are needed to see this picture.
the maximum stopping potential (voltage) in a phototube. He
found that the calculated maximum electron kinetic energy is
determined by the frequency of the light.
-For example, an increase in frequency results in an
increase in the maximum kinetic energy calculated for an
electron upon liberation - ultraviolet radiation would require a
Source: http://nobelprize.org/physics/
higher applied stopping potential to stop current in a laureates/1905/lenard-bio.html
phototube than blue light. However Lenard's results were
qualitative rather than quantitative because of the difficulty in
performing the experiments
-The current emitted by the surface was determined by the
light's intensity, or brightness: doubling the intensity of the
light doubled the number of electrons emitted from the
Photoelectric Effect

Concerning an Heuristic Point of View Toward
the Emission and Transformation of Light
It seems to me that the observations associated with blackbody
radiation, fluorescence, the production of cathode rays by ultraviolet
light, and other related phenomena connected with the emission or
transformation of light are more readily understood if one assumes that
the energy of light is discontinuously distributed in space. In
accordance with the assumption to be considered here, the energy of a
light ray spreading out from a point source is not continuously
distributed over an increasing space but consists of a finite number of
energy quanta which are localized at points in space, which move
without dividing, and which can only be produced and absorbed as
complete units.
A. Einstein, Ann. Phys. 17, 132 1905
Einsteins Theory
The photoelectric effect is
interpreted with photons and
the conservation of energy
with the equation:
hf = + mv2
hf equals the energy
of each photon

Source: http://www.westga.edu/~chem/courses/chem410/410_08/sld017.htm
Kinetic energy of emitted
electron vs. Light frequency
Higher-frequency photons have more energy, so
they should make the electrons come flying out
faster; thus, switching to light with the same
intensity but a higher frequency should increase
the maximum kinetic energy of the emitted
electrons. If you leave the frequency the same
but crank up the intensity, more electrons should
come out (because there are more photons to
hit them), but they won't come out any faster,
because each individual photon still has the
same energy. And if the frequency is low
enough, then none of the photons will have
enough energy to knock an electron out of an
atom. So if you use really low-frequency light,
you shouldn't get any electrons, no matter how
high the intensity is. Whereas if you use a high
frequency, you should still knock out some
electrons even if the intensity is very low.

Source: http://online.cctt.org/physicslab/
Simple Photoelectric Experiment

Source: http://sol.sci.uop.edu/~jfalward/particlesandwaves/phototube.jpg
Photoelectric Effect

The Photoelectric effect has numerous applications, for example
night vision devices take advantage of the effect. Photons entering
the device strike a plate which causes electrons to be emitted, these
pass through a disk consisting of millions of channels, the current
through these are amplified and directed towards a fluorescent
screen which glows when electrons hit it. Image converters, image
intensifiers, television camera tubes, and image storage tubes also
take advantage of the point-by-point emission of the photocathode.
In these devices an optical image incident on a semitransparent
photocathode is used to transform the light image into an electron
image. The electrons released by each element of the photoemitter
are focused by an electron-optical device onto a fluorescent screen,
reconverting it in the process again into an optical image
Applications: Night Vision

Photoelectric Effect Applications

Photoelectric Detectors In one type of photoelectric

device, smoke can block a light beam. In this case, the
reduction in light reaching a photocell sets off the alarm. In
the most common type of photoelectric unit, however, light
is scattered by smoke particles onto a photocell, initiating
an alarm. In this type of detector there is a T-shaped
chamber with a light-emitting diode (LED) that shoots a
beam of light across the horizontal bar of the T. A
photocell, positioned at the bottom of the vertical base of
the T, generates a current when it is exposed to light.
Under smoke-free conditions, the light beam crosses the
top of the T in an uninterrupted straight line, not striking
the photocell positioned at a right angle below the beam.
When smoke is present, the light is scattered by smoke
particles, and some of the light is directed down the
vertical part of the T to strike the photocell. When sufficient
light hits the cell, the current triggers the alarm.

Source: http://chemistry.about.com/cs/howthingswork/a/aa071401a.htm
Photoelectric Smoke Detector

Source: http://www.bassburglaralarms.com/images_products/d350rpl_addressable_duct_smoke_detector_b10685.jpg
Solar panels are nothing more
than a series of metallic plates
that face the Sun and exploit the
photoelectric effect. The light
from the Sun will liberate
electrons, which can be used to
heat your home, run your lights,
or, in sufficient enough
quantities, power everything in
your home.

Source: www.futureenergy.org/ picsolarpannelsmatt.jpg

Work Cited
Amar, Francois G. The Photoelectric Effect. 25 Sep 2003. Section of Chemistry 121 for fall
03. 11 May 2006
Blawn, Jeramy R. and Colwell, Catharine H. Physics Lab: Photoelectric Effect. 10 Jun 2003.
Mainland High School: Online Physics Labs. 11 May 20006
Helmenstine, Anne Marie. Photoelectric & Ionization Smoke Detector. 25 Feb 2006.
About.com. 11 May 2006
Einstein, Albert. Concerning an Heuristic Point of View Toward the Emission and
Transformation of Light. American Journal Of Physics 5 May 1965: 137.
Nave, Rod. HyperPhysics. 19 Aug. 2000. Georgia State University. 06 May 2006
<http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/hframe.html> .
Thornton T., Stephen, and Rex, Andrew. Modern Physics for Scientists and Engineers.
Canada : Thomson Brooks/Core, 2006
Photoelectric Effect. 24 Apr. 2006. Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia. 05 May 2006.