Physics 2
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Physics 2. Chapter 27 Sections 1-3. Blackbody Radiation Curve. All objects emit EM radiation Usually consists of a continuous distribution of λ As temp increases the more the max intensity shifts to shorter λ

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Physics 2

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Physics 2

Chapter 27

Sections 1-3

Blackbody Radiation Curve

  • All objects emit EM radiation

  • Usually consists of a continuous distribution of λ

  • As temp increases the more the max intensity shifts to shorter λ

  • As temp increases the total energy given off by the body (area under curve) increases

Classical physics predicts that as λ approaches 0 the amount of energy radiated should become infinite

Instead data shows that as λ approaches 0 the amount of energy radiated also approaches 0

Blackbody Radiation Curve

Blackbody is a hollow object with a small opening through which light can enter

Energy gets absorbed every time light hits the wall inside

If box is insulated the energy absorbed causes the temp inside to rise

Energy will be radiated inside the box and some will escape

Blackbody Radiation

Planck’s Theory

  • Planck said a blackbody is made up of a large number of atomic oscillators, called resonators, which emit EM radiation of various frequencies

  • Resonators can only absorb and give off energy in discrete amounts given by

    E = nhf

    where n=quantum # (0,1,2…), f=frequency of resonator, h=Planck’s constant = 6.63 x 10-34 Js

Planck’s Theory

  • Energy is quantized

  • Discrete units of light energy are called quanta

  • Resonator will only radiate/absorb energy when it changes quantum states

    The idea was so radical that even Planck didn’t think it was realistic. It was just a mathematical model.

Photoelectric Effect

  • Phenomenon where electrons are ejected from a metal plate when light of certain frequencies shines on it

Photoelectric Effect

Classical physics says:

  • When light waves of any f strike the metal they should eject electrons if their intensity is high enough

  • At low intensity, electrons can be ejected if wait long enough for electrons to absorb the incoming energy

  • Increasing the intensity increases the KE of the ejected electrons

Photoelectric Effect


  • No electrons are emitted if frequency is below a certain level, regardless of intensity

  • If frequency exceeds this threshold frequency the number of electrons emitted is proportional to the intensity

  • KE of emitted electrons is independent of intensity

  • KE increases as frequency increases

  • Electrons are emitted almost instantly, even at low intensity

Einstein’s Theory

  • Photon – discrete unit of light energy

    EM waves are composed of photons

    Each photon has an energy, E, given by E = nhf that can be absorbed by an electron

Einstein’s Theory

Einstein says that if light hits a metal it can do 1 of 2 things:

  • Photon can give its energy to an electron in the metal

  • Photon can do work of removing the electron from the metal

Einstein’s Theory

  • Work function – minimum amount of energy required for an electron to escape from a metal, hft, where ft is threshold frequency

    If photon has more energy than hft the rest goes into KE of ejected electron

Einstein’s Theory

photon E = energy to remove electron (work fn) + max KE of ejected electron

hf = hft + KEmax


ft f

If f < ft then no ejected electrons

KE only depends on f not intensity (increase in intensity means more ejected electrons but at same KE)

Slope is h (Planck’s constant)

Einstein’s Theory

Sample Problem

The work function for a silver surface is 4.73 eV. Find the minimum frequency that light must have in order to eject electrons from its surface.

Compton struck an electron at rest with an xray photon

Noticed scattered photon has a frequency that is less than the incident frequency

Difference between the 2 frequencies depended on the angle at which the scattered photon left

Compton Effect or Shift

Compton Effect or Shift

  • Phenomenon in which a photon is scattered with a smaller frequency or larger wavelength than the incident photon

    This phenomenon became the basis for the idea of wave-particle duality.

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