Some students think the number of photoelectrons depends on the energy of the photon

Quantum and Nuclear


Resources to Address This

  • A discussion of how frequency and energy delivered by photons is related. Use this to help explain why low frequency (low energy) photons are unable to cause the photoelectric effect even when light intensity is high.

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  • A set of detailed instruction in the use of an electroscope is given here which will help you understand how to charge the electroscope effectively before demonstrating the photoelectric effect.

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  • These videos cover a wide range of approaches to teaching area of quantum and nuclear physics.

    The “Photoelectric effect” video demonstrates the effect using an electroscope and then discusses the effect in detail using Lego to give an interesting visual approach. This can be used to explain the effect before moving on to the equation.

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  • A suggestion for linking the energy delivered by photons to frequency based on the ‘orange liquid’ approach to energy stores. Different sized spoons deliver different volumes of the fluid and therefore different amount of energy.

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  • Taslidere, E., () Development and use of a three-tier diagnostic test to assess high school students’ misconceptions about the photoelectric effect, Research in Science & Technological Education, 34 (2) 164–186.

    DOI: 10.1080/02635143.2015.1124409

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