Speed/Energy of Electrons

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Leah Thomas 2E
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Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:06 am

Speed/Energy of Electrons

Postby Leah Thomas 2E » Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:43 pm

Need a quick answer. So the speed of light is constant and is what we use in our equation. However, when dealing with the photoelectric effect, energy is emitted unto a metal at a different a certain speed and is it emitted off at a slower speed/energy since there is some sort of threshold energy (work) that slows the speeds at which electrons are emitted back out? Totally confused on how this work and why we use the speed of light in some cases and not others...

Rachel Formaker 1E
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Re: Speed/Energy of Electrons

Postby Rachel Formaker 1E » Sat Oct 14, 2017 11:32 pm

I think your confusion is mainly mixing up speed, energy, and frequency.

The speed of light is constant (3.00 x 108 m/s), and is equal to the frequency times wavelength of light.
The frequency(v) of light is different for different types of light, and the energy(E) of light is related to the frequency of light by the equation E=hv.

In the photoelectric effect, light of a certain frequency or energy (either can be given in a problem) will be emitted unto a metal, and if the energy of the light is greater than the work function (aka threshold energy), an electron will be emitted with the kinetic energy 1/2mv2.
The kinetic energy of the electron will always be less than the energy of the emitted light, so in that way it could be thought of as "slower" but it really means that it has less energy. The kinetic energy can be given by the equation Ek= hv -work function

Nicole Nikolov 1K
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Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:05 am

Re: Speed/Energy of Electrons

Postby Nicole Nikolov 1K » Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:35 am

I think I'm also kind of confused between speed and frequency. If light has a higher frequency doesn't that mean that it's going to be faster?

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Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2017 3:01 am

Re: Speed/Energy of Electrons

Postby SitharaMenon2B » Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:19 pm

The frequency refers to the number of waves per second that pass a point in space , but the speed of light (in a vacuum) stays constant for every wave of light (it doesn't change for different frequencies).

Ruohan Sun 3I
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Re: Speed/Energy of Electrons

Postby Ruohan Sun 3I » Sun Oct 15, 2017 8:59 pm

The speed of electron ejected is related to its kinetic energy, which is the energy of photon subtracted by the threshold energy. It's not related to the speed of light. You can use the speed of light to calculate the frequency and energy of photons.

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