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PH4030

PHOTOELECTRIC EFFECT

NAME :H.S.I.FERNANDO
INDEX : 11137
REG.NO: 2011S12593
DATE :24.03.2015
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Abstract
The concepts of photo electric effect explained by Einstein are used to obtain a practical measurement
for Planks Constant and the Work Function of the photoelectric material, to determine wavelengths of
unknown filters and to study the Photoelectric Current vs. Intensity of Light for different wavelengths.

The theoretical understanding of the particle nature of light, the relationship between the frequency
and the energy of the photoelectrons and the relationship between the intensity of light and the
number of photoelectrons are observed practically.

Possible experimental errors and simple apparatus are discussed.


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Contents
1. Introduction .......................................................................................................................................... 3
2. Theory ................................................................................................................................................... 4
3. Experiment 1 - Determining the Planks Constant and the Work Function of the photocell material 5
4.1 Methodology .......................................................................................................................... 5
4.2 Results ................................................................................................................................................. 5
4. Experiment 2 Determining the wavelengths of unknown filters ....................................................... 7
5.1 Methodology....................................................................................................................................... 7
5.2 Results ................................................................................................................................................. 8
5. Experiment 3 Observing the variation of photocurrent vs. intensity of light .................................... 9
6.1 Methodology....................................................................................................................................... 9
6.2 Results ............................................................................................................................................... 10
6. Discussion............................................................................................................................................ 11
7. Conclusion ........................................................................................................................................... 12
8. References .......................................................................................................................................... 13
9. Appendices .......................................................................................................................................... 13
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1. Introduction
Photoelectric effect is the phenomenon in which electrons are emitted from a surface at the incident of
light on it.

Figure 2.01 The simple representation of photoelectric effect

Photoelectric effect was discovered in 1887 by the German physicist Heinrich Hurtz and was successfully
explained by Albert Einstein in 1905. This is a significant mile post in science which earned Einstein a
Nobel Prize and resulted in quantum revolution and formed the concept of wave-particle duality of light.

The observations contradict the classical theory in which

a. There should exist a significant time delay between incidence and ejection
b. The intensity should affect the kinetic energy of the photoelectron
c. Photoelectrons will be emitted regardless of the frequency if the intensity was high enough

As per the observations,

a. The delay between the incidence and the ejection is about a billion of a second
b. Intensity decreases the number of photoelectrons emitted and there exists a maximum kinetic
energy for the photoelectrons
c. There is a threshold frequency

Therefore the photoelectric effect cannot be explained through classical mechanics. Instead, the light is
postulated to be formed with energy packets whose energy is determined by the frequency and the
number of such packets by the intensity of the light.

Once an energy packet is incident on the surface of a material, only one electron would absorb the
energy carried by that specific packet. Therefore the photocurrent is determined by the intensity (the
number of energy packets) and the energy of the electron by the frequency, in-line with the concept of
particle nature of light.
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2. Theory

Figure 3.01 The photocell

When the photocathode of the photocell is illuminated with light of a sufficiently short wavelength, this
can cause the release of electrons. The energy of the incident photon is used to overcome the electronic
work function () and the surplus energy is transformed into the kinetic energy of the electron.
1
Then = 2
2 +

If an opposing voltage (U) is applied between the cathode and the anode, a current will flow as long as
1
2
2 < . . As soon as the opposing voltage reaches a value which prohibits the current to flow (0 ),
1
the term 2 can be replaced by . 0 .
2


Thus 0 = ( = + type) eq1

The Inverse Square Law of light suggests that Intensity (I) is directly proportional to the square of the
distance (d) between the light source and the photocell. Since the voltage (V) is related to the current
(q) as follows, = + (c is a constant),
1
= + ( = + type) eq2
2

k is the proportionality constant

The root of a polynomial of the 2nd order can be found using


(2 4)
= eq3
2
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3. Experiment 1 - Determining the Planks Constant and the Work Function


of the photocell material

4.1 Methodology

Figure 4.01 PT-23N, Planks constant measuring equipment

The meters1 and 2 were set to measurement and external respectively and the gain adjuster to the
maximum. The retarding voltage was set to a minimum. Two multimetres were connected from the
back pins of the machine to measure the photocurrent and the retarding voltage. A filter was inserted
into the socket on top of the machine and the lid was closed carefully. Power was supplied to the
machine and the zero adjuster was varied until the voltage reading on the multimetre was zero.

The light adjuster was turned to level 1 and the voltage adjuster was gradually increased until the photo
current reading became zero. The voltage and the current were noted down for suitable intervals. The
intensity level was increased to levels 2,3,4 and the above steps were repeated. The same procedure
was undertaken for 4 wavelength known filters (4046.56 A, 4347.50 A, 5460.74 A, 5769.59 A).

Photocurrent vs. Retarding voltage was plotted for each of the filters and the root of each of the graphs
were obtained using the eq3. The average stopping potential for each of the filters were obtained hence
and the graph of Stopping Potential vs. Frequency was plotted to obtain the Planks Constant from the
gradient and the Work Function from the intercept as per eq1. The Matlab code can be found in the
appendix.

4.2 Results

Figure 4.02 Plot of Photocurrent vs. Retarding Voltage for wavelength 4046.56 A
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Figure 4.03 Plot of Photocurrent vs. Retarding Voltage for wavelength 4347.50 A

Figure 4.04 Plot of Photocurrent vs. Retarding Voltage for wavelength 5460.74 A

Figure 4.05 Plot of Photocurrent vs. Retarding Voltage for wavelength 5769.59 A
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Wavelength(A) Average Voltage(V) Error(V)


4046.56 1.00 0.03
4347.5 0.87 0.02
5460.74 0.62 0.01
5769.59 0.44 0.01
Table 4.01 The average voltage obtained using the roots of each of the above graphs

Figure 4.06 The plot of Average Stopping Potential vs. Frequency

Planks Constant = (. . )

Work Function = (. . )

4. Experiment 2 Determining the wavelengths of unknown filters

5.1 Methodology
The same procedure specified in Experiment 1 was undertaken for wavelength unknown filters (blue,
green, yellow, orange) and the average stopping potential was obtained. The wavelength was calculated
by applying the Planks constant value and the Work Function value obtained above on eq1.
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5.2 Results

Figure 5.01 Plot of Photocurrent vs. Retarding Voltage for unknown filter1-blue

Figure 5.02 Plot of Photocurrent vs. Retarding Voltage for unknown filter2-green

Figure 5.02 Plot of Photocurrent vs. Retarding Voltage for unknown filter3-yellow
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Figure 5.02 Plot of Photocurrent vs. Retarding Voltage for unknown filter4-orange

Colour Average stopping potential(V) Wavelength obtained(A)


Blue 1.08 0.04 6957 305
Green 0.76 0.02 8469 331
Yellow 0.68 0.01 8963 347
Orange 0.54 0.01 9983 394

5. Experiment 3 Observing the variation of photocurrent vs. intensity of


light

6.1 Methodology

Figure 6.01 The current measuring amplifier


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Figure 6.02 Experimental setup to measure voltage with respect to the distance with the light source

The circuit was arranged as per figure 6.02 and the zero-point adjuster was adjusted to provide zero
reading from the multimetre. The distance between the light source and the photocell was varied by
pushing the light source forward and at each placement, the filters were changed to measure the
voltage readings. Voltage vs. reciprocal of distance squared was plotted at each wavelength.

6.2 Results

Figure 6.02 The plots of Photocurrent vs. Intensity for different wavelengths
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6. Discussion
In Experiment 1, the measurements were obtained using external multimetres since the ammeter and
the voltmeter dials of the laboratory PT-23N Planks constant measuring equipment did not function
properly.

It is essential to adjust for the zero point in order to omit the disturbances from the errors in the
multimetre and the photocurrent possible through normal light.

It is beneficial to consider the maximum intensity level and observe the fluctuation in current with the
retarding voltage when deciding upon the measuring intervals. This allows to minimize errors since the
measurements are sustainable and increases the sensitivity since the measuring interval can be
decreased towards the stopping potential then.

The velocity of light was used as 3 108 1and the charge of the electron as 1.602 1019 in all
calculations.

Matlab is unable to capture the differences in errors as an inbuilt function hence the errors, the
gradient, error in gradient, intercept and the error in intercept had to be calculated manually using an
excel sheet for convenience.

The established value for the Planks constant is 6.62 1034 2 1 . The observed value for the
Planks Constant is of the same order. It can reasonably be justified due to the disregarded error in
measuring voltage and current, 3% to 5% error in zero-point adjustment or errors in amplification.

The accuracy of the practical can be increased by using more filters, at least five filters, satisfying the
minimum requirement to plot a curve.

Theoretically the stopping potential for a specific wavelength should be the same despite the intensity
of the incident light but it was observed that the stopping potential is vulnerable to the intensity. An
increase in the intensity should increase the current since the number of energy packets has increased
but not the stopping potential. This can occur due to a couple of reasons.

The filters used might not be ideal so that there is a range of wavelengths instead of one
specified value.
There is always an energy loss to the environment so that different electrons may possess
different energies for a specific wavelength.

It was noticed that the stopping potential increases slightly with the intensity. This is because there is a
better chance for an electron with higher energy to exist at high intensity as there are more electrons
present now. Since the machine detects the retarding voltage required to stop the first electron to reach
the detector, the stopping potential would be higher at higher intensities.

The photocurrent should not be allowed to become negative as it would destroy the photocell. It was
further observed that the photocurrent doesnt jump to a negative value at once but remains at zero for
some voltage range. This is due to the barrier potential within the photocell, as if in a semiconductor
junction. It was observed that the point in which the inverse current flows corresponds to a higher
retarding voltage at lower intensities. This can be explained in the basis of the above paragraph in which
the lower energy electrons require a stronger push to cross the barrier.
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The error calculation suggest the minimum possible error. Hence signs were used to minimize the
error component when applying error theory principles.

The inverse square law of light was not used to fluctuate the intensity in Experiment1 and 2 since then
regenerating the same intensities is almost impossible for many instances. This accumulates the error
and affects the precision of the measurements.

The light source should be coherent in order to receive a DC current at a particular voltage.

In Experiment 2 the wavelength values obtained would have been more accurate if the real value for the
Planks Constant was used.

The filters used are found to be high pass filters rather than filters which allows one specific wavelength.
The indicated value on the filter suggests only a cut off wavelength value. The observed spectrum with
respect to the full spectrum of the light used is available in the appendix, clarifying the above. Therefore
the obtained wavelengths of the unknown filters are subjected to undetermined errors. The values for
wavelength unknown filters would fall in their appropriate range if the correct wavelength values are
used.

The percentage error for the results is always less than 10%, so that it can reasonably be assumed that
the measurements are of high accuracy and the errors are caused by the inadequacy of the filters. This
discrepancy might be minimized if LED bulbs of appropriate colours are used instead of a stable light
source in front of the filters. This will minimize the range of wavelengths passed, hence creates a band-
pass filter, minimizing the error.

In Experiment 3, the photocathode region is not homogeneous. Therefore care should be taken to
illuminate the same area always. The photocathode material is potassium with oxidized silver coating
and the anode ring is platinum-rhodium alloy.

The photocell housing had to be grounded since the photocurrents are very small so that interference
factors have a greater effect; the device had not been grounded properly.

The light used was highly dispersive. Therefore the plots have an intercept. The dispersive nature can be
overcome by using a convex lens but then the intensity of the source in the laboratory is not sufficient to
obtain a proper measurement.

As per the plot, the photocurrent increases with the intensity of light which is in-line with the particle
nature of light. It is assumed that the current is directly proportional to the voltage (Ohmic devices).

The slope of the graph demonstrates an increase with the frequency which seems to be in contradiction
with theory. Frequency would not increase the number of electrons emitted but the energy per
electron. It should be noted that the photocurrent is amplified. Since the initial speed of an electron is
higher at higher frequencies, the number of electrons passing the circuitry per unit time at a given
intensity level is higher for higher frequencies. Nevertheless the filters used permits a range of
wavelengths to pass. This explains the increase in the slope with the frequency and that there is no
contradiction with the theory.

7. Conclusion
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The photocurrent is determined by the intensity of light and the stopping potential is determined by the
frequency of light. This satisfies the concept of the particle behavior of light, in which one wave packet
emits one electron.

The experimental values for the Planks Constant, Work Function and wavelengths could be obtained by
using a higher number of well-defined wavelength known filters.

8. References

Petar Maksimovic, 2002. Photo-electric Effect and Measurement of h/e.[Online] Available at:
http://www.pha.jhu.edu/~c173_608/photoelectric/photoelectric.html [Accessed 1st March
2015]
D.L.Humphrey, 2008. Photoelectric Effect.[pdf] Available at:
http://physics.wku.edu/~womble/phys302/photoelectric.pdf [Accessed 2nd March 2015]
ThatSingaporeanGuy, 2012. What Is The Photoelectric Effect?[video online]. Available at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=GUyo5U20fd4 [Accessed 2nd
March 2015]
Photoeleclab04, 2014. Lab5.Photoelectric Effect.[pdf]. Available at:
http://home.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intdept/i42/Photoeleclab04.PDF [Accessed 10th March 2015]

9. Appendices
clc;
clear;

%%Import data from excel sheet; the format of the matrix is [num,txt,raw],
%%num->only numbers txt->only text raw->all characters
[~,~,raw] =
xlsread('F:\University_Acadamic\4th_year\practical\photoEF\mycodes\ex1data.xl
sx','sheet1');

%%replace non-numeric shells with -2.0


R = cellfun(@(x) (~isnumeric(x) && ~islogical(x)) || isnan(x),raw); % Find
non-numeric cells
raw(R) = {-2.0}; % Replace non-numeric cells
%% Create output variable
data = reshape([raw{:}],size(raw));

%% Clear temporary variables


clearvars raw R;

n=4; %n is the filter number which the graph set is expected


for j=n:n
x=data(:,5*j-4);

for m=(5*j-3):5*j %depends on how the data is saved in excel sheet


y=data(:,m);

d=size(x);
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for i=1:d %ignore column topics


if y(i)>-1
k=i;
end
end
voltage = x(2:k);
current = y(2:k);
fit1 = fit(voltage,current,'poly2');

%collecting data to find roots of each of the plots

zi=coeffvalues(fit1);%reads coefficient values of the plot

%collecting data to calculate errors


ci = confint(fit1,0.15);%a 2*n matrix with the upper bound and the
lower bound for the coefficients
c1=ci(1,:);
c2=ci(2,:);
A=c1-c2;%the range of the coefficient
difference=max(abs(A),[],1);%the maximum of the 1st dimension of
absA, which is the maximum error

%plot
plot(fit1,voltage,current);
title('Photo Current vs. Retarding Voltage');
xlabel('Voltage(V)');
ylabel('Current(mA)');
grid on
hold on

VR=min(abs(roots(zi)));%minimum is taken since the plot is a minimiser

%reading the 3 coefficients seperately, y=ax^2+bx+c


a=zi(1);
b=zi(2);
c=zi(3);

%reading errors associated with the coefficients seperately


diffa=difference(1);
diffb=difference(2);
diffc=difference(3);

%calculating error of the root using error theory


B=(b*b-4*a*c)^0.5;
E1=((2*a*c/B) +b +B)/(2*(a^2));
E2=(-1 - b/B)/(2*a);
E3=1/B;

Esquare=(E1*diffa)^2 + (E2*diffb)^2 + (E3*diffc)^2;


E=sqrt(Esquare);

output(1,m)=VR;
output(2,m)=E;
end
end
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display('stopping potential from row 1 and error from row 2');


display(output);
Figure 10.01 Matlab code to generate the plots of photocurrent vs. retarding voltage

Figure 10.02 Spectrum of filters with the cutoff value 5460.74 A(green) and 5769.59 A(red) over the full
spectrum of the light source(blue)