Photoelectric Effect

Created by Phillip Warner

This applet shows the effect of light, in the form of photons of a given wavelength and intensity, on various metals.

The Photoelectric Effect is dependent upon the work function of the metal and the frequency of the photons. As the wavelength of the light decreases, the energy of the photons increases. Once the energy of the photons reaches the work function of the metal, electrons in the metal will release energy in the form of photons. The magnitude of this energy is measured in the ammeter. The wavelength of the photons can be modified by moving the scrollbar; moving the bar left will decrease the wavelength; moving the bar to the right will decrease the wavelength of the photons. The type of metal is selectable using the drop-down box. The intensity of the light can be set to Low or High. Press "Start" to begin the animation.

The purpose of this applet is twofold:
  1. to show that the energy of the photons released from the metals is independent of the intensity of the original photons.
  2. to allow the user to determine the work function of each metal.