Why does the photoelectric effect not eject light?

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Qiu Ya Wu 4I
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Joined: Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:17 am

Why does the photoelectric effect not eject light?

Postby Qiu Ya Wu 4I » Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:50 pm

Through my studies for the midterm, I came across the detail that passing an electric current through hydrogen gas causes electromagnetic radiation of a certain frequency to be emitted as an electron goes from a higher to a lower energy level. Given this, why does an electron, and not electromagnetic radiation, get ejected in the photoelectric effect when electromagnetic radiation is being shined on a metal? Isn't the electron in the metal transitioning to a different energy level? I'm not sure if these are completely different topics and I'm misunderstanding the concepts or if they are intertwined somehow.

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Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:17 am

Re: Why does the photoelectric effect not eject light?

Postby nicolely2F » Tue Nov 05, 2019 4:57 pm

Outer levels in the atom are of higher energy, therefore, if an electron transitions from an outer level to an inner level, it needs to get rid of excess energy. In the case that you read about, the electron does that in the form of light. In contrast, the energy of light being shone on a metal surface is being absorbed, and if the electron is removed from the metal and has excess energy, it will get rid of it in the form of movement, which the E(kinetic) we learned about.

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