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The photoelectric effect is the phenomenon of electron detachment due to
irradiated light metal. Viewed from a historical perspective, the discovery of the
photoelectric effect is one milestone in the birth of quantum physics. To formulate a
suitable theory with experiment, we are facing a situation where the classic
understanding that for decades believed to be the correct understanding, had to be
overhauled. Understood in question is the concept of light as a wave is not
overhauled, the phenomenon of the photoelectric effect can not be explained either.
The new understanding theoretically capable of explaining the phenomenon of the
photoelectric effect is that of light as particles however, the emergence of this new
understanding new polemical. The reason is that the notion of light as a wave has
proven reliability in explaining the large number of phenomena related to the
phenomenon of diffraction, interference, and polarization. Meanwhile, the
aforementioned phenomenon can not be explained by understanding light as a
particle. To counter that, experts agree that light has a dual nature: as waves and as

The photoelectric effect helped Wave two particle , In which the physical
system (such as photon in this case) can demonstrate both properties and behaviors
such as wave and like-particle, a concept that is widely used by the creator quantum
mechanics, The photoelectric effect described mathematically by Albert Einstein
which extend quanta developed by Max Planck,

The law of photoelectric emission:

1. For certain metals and radiation, the number of issued photoelectron

proportional to the intensity of light in use.
2. For certain metals, there is a minimum frequency radiation. below this
frequency can not be emitted photoelectron.
3. On top of that frequency, the kinetic energy of the emitted photoelectrons
does not depend on light intensity, but depending on the frequency of light.
4. The time difference of radiation and photoelectron emission is very small,
less than 10-9 seconds.


A. Hertz Finds Maxwell's Waves: and Something Else

The most dramatic prediction of Maxwell's theory of electromagnetism,

published in 1865, was the existence of electromagnetic waves moving at the speed
of light, and the conclusion that light itself was just such a wave. This challenged
experimentalists to generate and detect electromagnetic radiation using some form of
electrical apparatus. Clearly the first successful attempt was by Heinrich Hertz in
1886. He used a high voltage induction coil to cause a spark discharge between two
pieces of brass, to quote him, "Imagine a cylindrical brass body, 3 cm in diameter and
26 cm long, interrupted midway along its length by a spark gap Whose poles on
either side are formed by spheres of 2 cm radius. " The idea was that once a spark
formed a conducting path between the two brass conductors, charge Oscillate would
rapidly back and forth.

To prove there really was radiation emitted, it had to be detected. Hertz used a
piece of copper wire 1 mm thick bent into a circle of diameter 7.5 cms, with a small
brass sphere on one end, and the other end of the wire was pointed, with the point
near the sphere. He added a screw mechanism so that the point could be moved very
close to the sphere in a controlled fashion. This "receiver" was designed so that
current oscillating back and forth in the wire would have a natural period close to that
of the "transmitter" Described above. The presence of an oscillating charge in the
receiver would be signaled by a spark across the (tiny) gap between the point and the
sphere (typically, this gap was hundredths of a millimeter). (It was suggested to Hertz
that this spark gap could be replaced as a detector by a Suitably prepared frog.

The experiment was very successful - Hertz was Able to detect the radiation up
to fifty feet away, and in a series of ingenious experiments established that the
radiation was reflected and refracted as expected, and that it was polarized. The main
problem - the limiting factor in detection - was being Able to see the tiny spark in the
receiver. In trying to improve the spark's visibility, he Came upon something very
mysterious. To quote from Hertz again (he called the transmitter spark A, the receiver
B): "I occasionally enclosed the spark B in a dark case so as to more Easily Make the
observations; and in so doing I observed that the maximum spark-length Became
decidedly smaller in the case than it was before. On removing in succession the
various parts of the case.

Hertz then embarked on a very thorough investigation. He found that the small
spark receiver was more vigorous if it was exposed to ultraviolet light from the
transmitter spark. It took a long time to figure this out - he first checked for some
kind of electromagnetic effect, but found a sheet of glass Effectively shielded the
spark. He then found a slab of quartz did not shield the spark, whereupon he used a
quartz prism to break up the light from the big spark into its components, and
discovered that the wavelength the which made the little spark more powerful was
beyond the visible, in the ultraviolet.
A metal when given light releases electrons, which will generate electric current
when connected to a closed circuit. If light is a wave as predicted by classical physics,
then it should be the higher the intensity of light is given, the greater the current is
detected. However, the experimental results showed that although the intensity of the
light is the maximum, the electron does not show up well on the metal plate.

But when given a light with shorter wavelengths (higher frequencies, toward
the purple color of the light spectrum) than before, suddenly electrons loose from the
metal plate so that the detected electric current, whereas the intensity of a given
smaller than the previous intensity. That is, the energy required by a metal plate to
release electrons depends on the wavelength. This phenomenon can not be explained
by the physicist at that time. If the light was indeed the waves, which have a
continuous nature, should not the energy that can be absorbed from it could be worth
whatever? But it turns out only a certain amount of energy that can be absorbed to
release free electrons.
B. Hallwachs' Simpler Approach

The next year, 1888, another German physicist, Wilhelm Hallwachs, in

Dresden, wrote: "In a recent publication Hertz has Described investigations on the
dependence of the maximum length of an induction spark on the radiation received by
it from another induction spark. He proved that the phenomenon observed is an action
of the ultraviolet light. No further light on the nature of the phenomenon could be
Obtained, because of the complicated conditions of the research in the which it
Appeared. I have endeavored to Obtain related phenomena in the which would occur
under simpler conditions, in order to the make the explanation of the phenomena
Easier. Success was Obtained by Investigating the action of the electric light on
electrically charged bodies. "

He then describes his very simple experiment: a clean circular plate of zinc was
mounted on an insulating stand and attached by a wire to a gold leaf electroscope,
which was then charged negatively. The electroscope lost its charge very slowly.
However, if the zinc plate was exposed to ultraviolet light from an arc lamp, or from
burning magnesium, charge leaked away quickly intervening. If the plate was
positively charged, there was no fast charge leakage. (We Showed this as a lecture
demonstration, using a UV lamp as the source.)

Could it be that the ultraviolet light somehow spoiled the insulating properties
of the stand the zinc plate was on? Could it be that electric or magnetic effects from
the large current in the arc lamp somehow the caused the charge leakage?Although
Hallwach's experiment certainly clarified the situation, he did not offer any theory of
what was going on.

C. JJ Thomson Identifies the Particles

In fact, the situation Remained unclear until 1899, when Thomson established
that the caused the ultraviolet light to be emitted electrons, the same particles found in
cathode rays. His method was to enclose the metallic surface to be exposed to
radiation in a vacuum tube, in other words to make it the cathode in a cathode ray
tube. The new feature was that the electrons were to be ejected from the cathode by
the radiation, rather than by the strong electric field used previously.

By this time, there was a plausible picture of what was going on. Atoms in the
cathode contained electrons, the which were shaken and the caused to vibrate by the
oscillating electric field of the incident radiation. Eventually some of them would be
shaken loose, and would be ejected from the cathode. It is worthwhile considering
carefully how the number and speed of electrons emitted would be expected to vary
with the intensity and color of the incident radiation. Increasing the intensity of
radiation would shake the electrons more Violently, so one would expect more to be
emitted, and they would shoot out at greater speed, on average. Increasing the
frequency of the radiation would shake the electrons faster, so Might cause the
electrons to come out faster. For very dim light.

D. Lenard Finds Some Surprises

In 1902, the Lenard studied how the energy of the emitted photoelectrons varied
with the intensity of the light. He used a carbon arc light, and could increase of the
intensity a thousand-fold. The ejected electrons hit another metal plate, the collector,
which was connected to the cathode by a wire with a sensitive ammeter to measure
the current produced by the illumination. to measure the energy of the ejected
electrons, the collector plate Lenard negatively charged, to Repel the electrons
coming towards it. Thus, only electrons ejected with enough kinetic energy to get up
this hill would potential Contribute to the current. Lenard discovered that there was a
well-defined minimum voltage that stopped any electrons getting through, we'll call it
Vstop. To his surprise, he found that Vstop did not depend at all on the intensity of
the light! Doubling the light intensity doubled the number of electrons emitted, but
did not Affect the energies of the emitted electrons. The more powerful oscillating
field is more electrons ejected, but the individual maximum energy of the ejected
electrons was the same as for the Weaker field.

But Lenard did something else. With his very powerful arc lamp, there was
sufficient intensity to separate out the colors and check the photoelectric effect using
light of different colors. He found that the maximum energy of the ejected electrons
did depend on the color --- the shorter wavelength, higher frequency light the caused
electrons to be ejected with more energy. This was, however, a fairly qualitative
conclusion --- the energy measurements were not very reproducible, Because they
were extremely sensitive to the condition of the surface, in particular its state of
partial oxidation. In the best vacua available at that time, significant oxidation of a
fresh surface took place in the TENS of minutes. (The details of the surface are
crucial Because The fastest electrons are emitted from the Reviews those right at the
surface, and their binding to the solid depends strongly on the nature of the surface ---
is it pure metal or a mixture of metal and oxygen atoms ?)

Question:In the above figure, the battery represents the the potential Lenard
used to negatively charge the collector plate, the which would actually be a variable
voltage source. Since the electrons ejected by the blue light are getting to the collector
plate, evidently the potential supplied by the battery is less than Vstop for blue light.
Show with an arrow on the wire the direction of the electric current in the wire.

E. Suggests Einstein's Explanation

In 1905 Einstein Gave a very simple interpretation of Lenard's results. He just

assumed that the incoming radiation should be thought of as quanta of frequency hf,
with f the frequency. In photoemission, one such quantum is absorbed by one
electron. If the electron is some distance into the material of the cathode, some energy
will be lost as it moves towards the surface. There will always be some electrostatic
cost as the electron leaves the surface, this is usually called the work function, W. The
most energetic electrons will be emitted Reviews those very close to the surface, and
they will leave the cathode with kinetic energy

E = Hf - W.

On cranking up the negative voltage on the collector plate until the current just
stops, that is, to Vstop, the highest kinetic energy electrons must have had energy
eVstop on leaving the cathode. Thus Spake Einstein's theory makes a very definite
quantitative prediction: if the frequency of the incident light is varied, and Vstop
plotted as a function of frequency, the slope of the line should be h / e.

It is also clear that there is a minimum light frequency for a given metal, that
for the which the quantum of energy is equal to the work function. Light below that
frequency, no matter how bright, will not cause photoemission.

From the discussion above it can be concluded that the energy required by a
metal plate to release electrons depends on the wavelength, and revealed by Einstein
that this is because when the frequency of the light is higher, then even if there is only
one photon only (low intensity) to the energy enough, the photon is able to release
one electron from its bond. The light intensity is increased means that the more the
number of photons that are released, as a result more and more electrons will escape.
Einstein answer the riddle of the photoelectric.

Einstein's famous theory of relativity. Almost everyone is familiar formula E =

mc2, but few knew what it was that drove Einstein's photoelectric effect as scientists
Nobel laureates. In 1921 the Nobel prize committee wrote that Einstein was awarded
the highest award in the field of science for his services in the field of theoretical
physics, especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect. It's a
wonder why he did not receive the Nobel of the theory of relativity that the high
philosophical impact. Could it be that the Nobel prize committee knows, or there is a
pragmatic reason behind it?

The photoelectric effect is a process of change in the electrical conduction

properties in a material due to the influence of light or other electromagnetic waves.
This effect results in the creation of electron and hole pairs in the semiconductor, or
the emission of free electrons and ions remain inside the metal. The first phenomenon
is known as the internal photoelectric effect, while the second phenomenon is called
the photoelectric effect externally.
Einstein completed paper that describes this effect on March 17, 1905 and
submit it to the journal Annalen der Physik, just three days after the 26th anniversary
of the paper's Inside Einstein first introduced the term quantum (packet) light. In a
preliminary paper he argued that the processes such as black body radiation,
fotoluminesens, and production of cathode rays, can only be explained if the light
energy is not distributed continuously.

Einstein's idea sparked Louis de Broglie spawned the concept of matter waves.
This concept states that moving objects can be considered as a wave with a
wavelength is inversely proportional to its momentum. Simply put, the idea of de
Broglie is the opposite of Einstein's ideas. Both ideas have further helped give birth to
quantum mechanics through the Schroedinger equation which marked the end of
classical physics.

F. Millikan's Attempts to Disprove Einstein's Theory

If we accept Einstein's theory, then, this is a completely different way to

measure Planck's constant. The American experimental physicistRobert Millikan,
Who did not accept Einstein's theory, the which he saw as an attack on the wave
theory of light, worked for ten years, until 1916, on the photoelectric effect. He even
devised techniques for scraping clean the metal surfaces inside the vacuum tube.
Efforts his for all he found disappointing results: he confirmed Einstein's theory,
measuring Planck's constant to within 0.5% by this method. One consolation was that
he did get a Nobel prize for this series of experiments.

In fact, this is the birth of modern physics exposures dismissed theories

assumptions established at that time. One is the Maxwell theory which successfully
combines the phenomenon of electricity and magnetism in the formula and concluded
that light is one form of electromagnetic waves. Obviously it takes a long time to
convince the physics community if the light has a granular nature. In fact it takes
almost 11 years to a Robert Millikan was able to prove the hypothesis of Einstein. No
half-hearted, too, Millikan spent 10 years for such evidence. At that time Einstein
publish another paper entitled"Quantum Theory of Light", In this paper he describes
the process of emission and absorption of light packages in the molecule, and
calculate the probability of spontaneous emission and induced emission, hereinafter
known as the Einstein coefficients A and B. Both of these coefficients useful in
explaining theoretically invention of the laser in the future. Seven years later Arthur
Compton managed to create an experiment that proves the quantum nature of light
with the help of special relativity theory.


Have you ever wondered how a camera can automatically take great pictures
without having to set? The camera has a built-in light meter. When light comes into
the light meter, attacking a metal object that loses electrons and create the current. It
automatically opens and closes the lens to adjust the high and low lighting conditions.
smoke detectors and some burglar alarms also operates using the basic principle of
the photoelectric effect.

Very surprising to hear that the first application of the photoelectric effect in the
world of entertainment. With the help of electronic equipment when the voice
dubbing movies are recorded in the form of optical signals along the edges of the film
pieces. By the time the movie is playing, the signal is read back through the
photoelectric effect and the electrical signal is amplified using a tube amplifier to
produce a silent movie.

The most popular applications in academic circles is a photo-multiplier tube

(photomultiplier tube). By using this tube virtually all the electromagnetic radiation
spectrum can be observed. This tube has a very high efficiency, even he is capable of
detecting single photons though. By using this tube, Superkamiokande research
groups in Japan successfully investigate neutrino masses are finally awarded the
Nobel prize in 2002. In addition, the external photoelectric effect can also be utilized
for the purpose spectroscopy through equipment called photoelectron spectroscopy or

Internal photoelectric effect have more applications touches people. Take for
example a photo-diode or a photo-transistor which is useful as a high-speed light
sensor. In fact, in the optical fiber communication transmission of 40 Gigabit per
second which is equivalent to the light pulses along 10-11 seconds can still be read by
a photo-diode.

Solar cells are very familiar benefits can convert solar energy into electrical
energy through internal photoelectric effect. A semiconductor irradiated with visible
light would separate the electron and hole. Excess electrons on one side of which is
accompanied by excess hole on the other side will pose a potential difference if
supplied to the load will generate electric current.

Lately we are flooded with electronic products that are equipped with a CCD
camera (charge coupled device). Call it a camera on a mobile phone, a digital camera
with a resolution up to 12 megapixels, or rod-code scanner (barcode) used throughout
the supermarket, all of which utilize the internal photoelectric effect in changing the
desired image into electronic data that can then be processed by a computer. So, we
realize we have utilized both internal photoelectric effect would also externally in
everyday life.