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The photoelectric effect is basically the emission of electrons when light is shone on a surface. In the photoelectric effect experiment, it was found that light waves with low frequency (long wavelength) cannot eject electrons, even with high intensity light.
In essence, the photoelectric effect happens when light is shone on a material, causing electrons to be emitted. In the experiment, scientists were confused when a low frequency light could not eject an electron since according to the wave model of light, electrons should have been emitted no matter the frequency given it was shone for enough time. In other words, with the wave model of light, the longer a light shines on a surface, the more energy is transferred to it, which should have ejected an electron. However, this was not the case, and higher frequencies of light could cause electrons to be emitted while lower frequencies could not no matter how much time it was shone. Therefore, this led to the creation of the particle model of light that described light as a stream of individual photons. With one photon to one electron interaction, the light must have high enough frequency to overcome the work function of the surface. This explained why lower frequency light could not eject electrons at all. Ultimately, the photoelectric effect experiment proved that light has particle properties.
Another thing to note about the photoelectric effect is that since it showed that large wavelengths (and low frequencies) did not have enough energy, but small wavelength values (and high frequencies) did, one of the components that influences the energy of a photon is the frequency of light. That is why you see the frequency of light as part of the equation in calculating photon energy.
The definition that makes the most sense to me is, the ejection of electrons from the surface of a metal when exposed to UV radiation of frequency above the threshold frequency of the metal.
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