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Can someone please tell me what the difference between the photoelectric effect and the atomic spectra? I am confused and I need to know their difference so I can comprehend the bigger picture of the topic and understand the use of the equations more.
The atomic spectrum is essentially the range of different frequencies of EM radiation that are absorbed or emitted by electrons as they transition between energy levels in an atom. The Photoelectric Effect is simply referring to a phenomena where a metal surface will eject electrons when hit with light (electrons will only be emitted if the incoming light exceeds the unique threshold frequency of the specific metal). A connecting concept between atomic spectra and the photoelectric effect is that the frequency of energy plays a crucial role in determining whether or not electrons will be affected.
as professor notes, the photoelectric effect detects electrons while atomic spectra detects the wavelengths/frequencies of light emitted. the photoelectric effect also completely removes the electron from the metal surface while in the atomic spectra experiments electrons typically remain bound to the atom while they move through the different energy orbitals. atomic spectroscopy is typically used to identify elements.
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