The Photoelectric Effect: An Observational Experiment

The phenomenon you investigated in the previous experiment (using light to discharge an electroscope) is an example of what is called the photoelectric effect. You decide to do a more careful investigation using some specialized equipment.

Before interacting with the simulation you need to make sense of what you are looking at  Include the following in your writeup:

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a. Create your own diagram of what you see in the simulation. . As you progress through this experiment annotate and label the diagram with additional information so that som

b. The simulation gives you the ability to do many things with the virtual equipment:

  • Observe electrons being emitted by the metal. 
  • Vary the intensity of the light shining on the metal. 
  • Vary the wavelength of the light shining on the metal.
  • Vary the type of metal attached to the left plate (use the drop-down list at the topright labeled “Target”. You’ll see the color of the metal change also.) 
  • Vary the EMF and orientation of the battery at the bottom. 
  • Measure the current in the wire.

c. Use the simulation to investigate the photoelectric effect as completely as you can. It is up to you to decide what to do but this should involve many separate parts (subinvestigations). Here are some additional guidelines:

  • Stay organized and describe everything you do in careful detail so that someone not present during your investigation could reproduce what you did.
  • Keep a record of what happens in the simulation in each part of your investigation
  • Look for patterns and describe them as accurately as you can.

d. Develop a coherent understanding of what is happening in the photoelectric effect that integrates all parts of your investigation. Describe it as clearly as you can. This may involve suggesting new ideas about light and the way it interacts with matter. You will discover more about the photoelectric effect in later parts of this project.


investigating relationships on photoelectric effect
Investigating relationships

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rubric for photoelectric effect lab report
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