You may use the various websites mentioned in the activity or find your own to perform the photoelectric lab virtually. If you cannot find a functioning website or can’t collect data for one of the three parts of the lab, your teacher will be able to provide you with data to complete the lab adequately. You will design your own lab report in terms of charts and general organization, but you are expected to follow proper protocols of scientific investigation and communication.
In particular, you will be expected to collect and organize data as well as graph and analyze the following relationships (controlled variables in parentheses):
A. Light intensity and photocurrent (metal and frequency)
B. Photocurrent and retarding potential for different frequencies (metal and intensity)
C. Maximum kinetic energy of the photoelectrons and frequency in order to determine both the work function for the metal and Planck’s constant (metal and intensity).
You are expected to do the experiment data collection for at least two different wavelengths (colors of light) and two different metals.
Questions for further analysis based on the three relationships investigated:
A. Intensity and Photocurrent
a) What is the relationship between the intensity of the incident light and the photocurrent (assuming sufficient frequency and no retarding potential)?
b) If the frequency of the light is below the minimum threshold frequency for a particular metal, how much photocurrent is produced? Why? Also, why won’t an increase in energy (in terms of intensity) make any difference to this result?
B. Photocurrent and Retarding Potential
a) For a given metal and frequency, what is the relationship between retarding potential and photocurrent?
b) If the frequency is increased to a higher level, how does the shape of the graph (photocurrent vs. retarding potential) change?
c) If no retarding potential is present, how do increasing frequencies at the same intensity (number of photons per second) compare? If the higher frequency light has more energy, doesn’t this violate the law of conservation of energy?
C. Maximum Kinetic Energy of the Photoelectrons and Frequency
a) What is the relationship between retarding potential and the kinetic energy of the emitted photoelectrons?
b) What is the relationship between the kinetic energy of the photoelectrons and frequency?
c) Determine the values and discuss the significance of the following features of the graph of kinetic energy vs. frequency: vertical axis intercept, horizontal axis intercept, and slope.
d) Which metal investigated had the highest threshold frequency? What is the wavelength and energy (in eV) of this light at the threshold frequency?
gizmo link: https://www.explorelearning.com/index.cfm?method=cResource.dspView&ResourceID=491&ClassID=4484690 (Photoelectric Effect lab)
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