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In lecture it was briefly discussed that an electron will not be emitted if the energy of a photon is greater than or equal to the energy o needed to remove an electron from the surface of a metal. I was wondering why this is so. Is there not supposed to be any excess energy?
The electron will be emitted, as long as the energy of the photon is greater than or equal to the energy required to remove the electron. If the energy is greater than what is required, that will be the excess energy. The equation in the course reader (pg. 5, ch. 1) states that unless these conditions are met, no electrons will be emitted, no matter what intensity the light is.
If the work function requirement is met and an electron is ejected, any excess energy appears in the kinetic energy of the ejected electron. The more excess energy that is present, the higher velocity the ejected electron will have.
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