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ZingPath: Nature of Subatomic Particles

Photoelectricity and the Particle Nature of Light

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Photoelectricity and the Particle Nature of Light


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You will expand your knowledge of the atom in an exploration of the nature of its parts. Learn about radiation, the dual nature of light, and get an introduction to the world of quantum mechanics.

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Now You Know

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to complete the following:

  • Explain how photoelectricity supports the particle nature of light.

Everything You'll Have Covered

What discovery did nineteenth-century scientists make regarding light and electric currents?

~ In the nineteenth century, scientists discovered that when light is directed onto a light-sensitive object, electrons break off from the object's atoms and produce an electric current.

How was this discovery at odds with the wave theory of light?

~ According to the wave theory of light, more electrons are dispersed as the intensity of light increases and, as a result, the magnitude of the electric current produced also increases. However, the nineteenth-century scientists observed that this effect only occurred when the frequency of light was above certain values.

What are photons?

~ Photons are particles of light.

What did Einstein and Planck determine about photons and their ability to disperse electrons?

~ Einstein and Planck determined that photons only have enough energy to disperse electrons when their frequency is sufficiently high.

Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 2 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts Students should be familiar with the following terms: electromagnetic spectrum and electromagnetic wave.
Course Chemistry
Type of Tutorial Animation
Key Vocabulary electromagnetic spectrum, electromagnetic wave,