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Dr.Lavelle uses the analogy of runners to describe the fact that if the wavelength of light isn't high enough that no matter how high the frequency, electrons will not be emitted from a surface. Does anyone know what the range is that a wavelength has to be in order for electrons to be emitted from a surface?
The exact wavelength depends on the material of the surface the electrons are to be ejected from, since different elements hold onto their electrons with varying strengths. The energy of each photon has to be able to overcome the binding energy between the electron and its atom, and every atom is different. Usually though, the minimum wavelength of the light is somewhere in the UV region.
The wavelength depends on the type of surface metal that is being used for the experiment. Some atoms have a greater binding energy, so they hold on to electrons more tightly than others and they require a higher frequency to be ejected. But UV light is usually the incoming light used for this experiment and that can give you an idea of the type of wavelength usually needed.
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