Photoelectric Effect


Photoelectric effect measuring instruments on a table.

Photoelectric effect experiment equipment. (Image courtesy of MIT Junior Lab staff.)

The maximum kinetic energy of electrons ejected from a metal surface by monochromatic light is measured for several wavelengths. The value of Planck's constant, h, is derived by an analysis of the data in the light of Einstein theory of the photoelectric effect.

Lab Guide

Photoelectric Effect Lab Guide (PDF)


Planck, Max. Nobel Prize Lecture, "The Genesis and Present State of Development of the Quantum Theory." (1918).

Einstein, Albert. Nobel Prize Lecture, "Fundamental Ideas and Problems of the Theory of Relativity." (1921).

Millikan, R.A. "A Direct Photoelectric Determination of Planck's 'h'." Phys. Rev., 7, 355 (1916).

Buy at Amazon Hughes, Arthur L., and Lee A. Du Bridge. Photoelectric Phenomena. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill, (1932).

Discusses phenomena such as the velocity distribution of the electrons, effects of polarization and angle of incidence of the light, influence of the surface temperature, photoelectric behavior of thin films and composite materials, etc.

Buy at Amazon Harnwell, G. P., and Livingood, J. J. "Thermionic and Photoelectric Effects." In Experimental Atomic Physics. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill, 1933, pp. 214-223. ISBN: 9780070266605.

Buy at Amazon Melissinos, Adrian C. "Photoelectric Effect." In Experiments in Modern Physics. New York, NY: Academic Press, (1968).

Selected Resources

Baumeister, P. and G. Pincus. "Optical Interference Coatings." Scientific American 223, 58-75 (December 1970).