User:Arianna Pregenzer-Wenzler/Notebook/Junior Lab/Formal Report(rough draft)
Quantum versus Wave behavior in Light, and the use of the Photo Electric Effect in the Determination of Planck's Constant
^{SJK 20:04, 6 December 2008 (EST)}- author: Arianna Pregenzer-Wenzler,
undergraduate student in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.
- experimentalists: Arianna Pregenzer-Wenzler, Danial Young
- contact information:
email: arianna@umn.edu
Abstract
^{SJK 20:11, 6 December 2008 (EST)}In this experiment I used the photoelectric effect to determine the energy of the electromagnetic radiation emitted by a mercury light source at a given frequency. By analyzing how the kinetic energy of the photo current was effected when I varied the intensity of my light source at a constant frequency, I determined that the behavior of the EM radiation is inconsistent with the wave model of light. By measuring the change in the kinetic energy of the photo current for different bands of the mercury spectrum I am able to show that there is a constant that relates the energy the EM radiation to its frequency, and by doing so I confirm that the behavior of the light is consistent with the quantum model. This constant, my experimentally determined value of Planck's constant is found by using the equation E = hν = KE_{max} + W_{other} to relate my measured values of KE_{max} to the known values of ν for the mercury spectrum. Using this method I determined a value for Planck's constant that contained the accepted value within a 68% confidence interval.
Introduction
^{SJK 20:53, 6 December 2008 (EST)}When light strikes a material the energy in the light is transferred to the electrons in the material, when enough energy is transferred the electrons break their bonds and are emitted from the surface of the material producing a photoelectric current, this is called the photoelectric effect. The purpose of this experiment is to use the photoelectric effect to analyze the behavior of light, and see if in this case its behavior supports the quantum or wave theory of light. If it supports quantum theory we will then determine an experimental value for Planck's constant, h. At the beginning of the last century Rayleigh and Jeans used classical theory to predict the energy density of black-body radiation as the frequency of the light was increased. Classical theory says that light will exhibit wave like behavior, which means that the value of the energy is continuous and the average total energy is constant for a given temperature; its average does not depend on its frequency. The Rayleigh-Jeans formula developed using this theory gives the energy density of a blackbody cavity and says that as the frequency of the radiation becomes large the energy density will go to infinity. Experimental physics didn't bear out the theory, in fact it showed that the energy density not only reaches a finite value at a given temperature, it then drops back toward zero. This incredible discrepancy between theory and reality, which became know as the ultraviolet catastrophe, prompted Planck to look for a theory for the behavior of light that would allow the average energy of this blackbody radiation to first increase to some finite value and then decrease again. Planck realized that for the energy to behave as suggested by experiment it could only have discrete uniformly distributed values and it had to be a function of the frequency, so he hypothesized E = hν, where h is a proportionality constant that has come to be known as Planck's Constant. The idea that light is emitted as discrete bundles of energy called photons is the basis of quantum theory.[2]
The method used by Planck to determine h was ...
Today scientists have determined Planck's constant to ... using ....
In the following sections I will outline how I arrived at my experimental value for h
Methods and Materials
^{SJK 20:57, 6 December 2008 (EST)} In this lab we used a commercial h/e apparatus (PASCO scientific, Roseville, CA) which consists of a mercury vapor light source(OS- 9286*), a mounted box containing a cathode plate in a vacuum photodiode tube which I will refer to throughout this paper as the h/e apparatus(AP-9368*), a set of filters, and the lens grating assembly (Accessory Kit, (AP-9369*)), see fig 1. The light emitted by the mercury vapor light source is broken into its spectrum and focused by a lens grating assembly, one portion of the spectrum can then be directed through a slit in the h/e apparatus and onto a photodiode which works as a cathode. Rather than measuring the photoelectric current produced by the incident light, the h/e apparatus applies a reverse potential between the cathode and the anode reversing the current to zero. The minimum voltage necessary to stop the current corresponds to the maximum value of the kinetic energy of the electrons being emitted, and can be measured with a multimeter(WavTek 85XT, WavTek Technology Systems,Woodstock, IL) connected to the h/e apparatus.
Analysis of the data for the first part of this experiment was basically qualitative, leading to the assumption that the behavior of the EM radiation is in keeping with the quantum model. Using quantum theory the total energy of the light, hν, can be expressed as the sum of the amount of energy needed to overcome the binding energy of the electrons in the material of the cathode and the kinetic energy of the photoelectric current. I rewrote the equation E = hν = KE_{max} + W_{0} so that KE is expressed as a function of ν, and determined h from a least squares fit for each set of data. To calculate h, and my error in h, I used the INDEX, and LINEST functions in Excel (Microsoft Corporation, Redmond WA). I weighted each value of h (the weight is given by one divided by the square of its error), and calculated a weighted average as my best guess for h along with an appropriately weighted value of my error.[3] I used MATLAB (MathWorks Inc, Natick, MA) to display my data making use of the polyfit function to plot my linear fit curves.
Results & Discussion Part I
^{SJK 21:33, 6 December 2008 (EST)}The results of the first part of this experiment are essentially the qualitative analysis of the behavior of the light at constant frequency. If our light is behaving as would be predicted by classical theory then we should see a decrease in the maximum voltage as the intensity of the light decreases. This is because higher intensity means a greater wave amplitude (higher energy light), which would allow a for a larger amount of energy to transfer to the individual electrons. If, on the other hand, the behavior of our light is being governed by quantum theory, the amount of energy being transferred to the electrons is a function of the frequency of the light. According to the quantum model, in the first part of this experiment where we are keeping the frequency constant by using the same spectral band, the only effect the we should see as the intensity decreases is that the time it takes to reach the maximum voltage should increase.
My experimental data showed that the intensity of light, at a constant frequency, incident on the photodiode did not significantly effect the value of the maximum potential (Fig 2). Notice that while V_{max} does vary from one intensity to the next those variations are small and do not appear to be correlated to the intensity. Though you cannot draw any conclusions from this data as to the effect of intensity compared to time required to reach V_{max}, it is clear that V_{max} does not increase significantly with increasing intensity, supporting the quantum model for light. When I was trying to measure the time required to the maximum potential, I found that even at a very low intensity the maximum voltage was reached so quickly that I was not able to directly measure the time it took to reach V_{max} using a stopwatch. It was possible to draw some conclusions about the time required to reach the maximum potential at various intensity by viewing the wave form of the voltage going from zero to V_{max} on the oscilloscope (Fig 3). ^{SJK 21:35, 6 December 2008 (EST)} You can see there is an initial spike in voltage greater in height to V_{max} that corresponds with the release of the discharge (zero) switch on the h/e apparatus that allows the apparatus to begin building up charge, then the voltage dips and grows again in the expected exponential fashion, something like 1-e^{-x} until it reaches V_{max}. Though I couldn't directly measure the time required to reach V_{max} I could see on the oscilloscope, that the time to reach V_{max} does indeed decrease as the intensity of the light is diminished.Results & Discussion Part II
After eliminating the wave model of light as a means of predicting the behavior of our light, and seeing that at a constant frequency our light behaved as predicted by the quantum model, I went on to confirm the correlation between the energy of our light and its frequency by measuring V_{max} for different frequencies. Taking measurements of V_{max} for both the first and second order bands of the mercury spectrum showed that an increase in frequency always resulted in an increase in V_{max}. My first set of data clearly shows this relation between the frequency and V_{max} for the first and second order bands (Fig 4). With closer analysis it was clear that my data supported the quantum model, and that I would be able to determine an experimental value for Planck's constant from it, but a mystery had emerged as well. The value of the maximum potential corresponding to the green spectral band in the 2nd order was much greater than predicted by the general trend (see Fig 4). Some investigation showed that the cause of this discrepancy is an overlap of the high frequency 3rd bands with the 2nd order bands. In my second data set I was able to reduce the effect of this overlap by using my sunglasses as an UV filter when measuring the values of V_{max} for the 2nd order green and yellow bands (Fig 5).(Steve Koch:Unlike most people, in this case you actually probably have too much information in your figure legend (and correspondingly very little in the text of the paper. It's good for figures to have lots of description so the reader knows what they're looking at...you do well with this with the beginning and end of your caption. The middle of your caption is more interpretation and conclusions drawn from the data and that can go in your results and discussion section. I would say a figure caption almost always doesn't have this much discussion (it's more "here're the results, see text for discussion")...though you can sometimes point out something important, (such as "note very little change in Vmax").]]
My experimental data in this experiment definitely supports the quantum model of light.
Using the method described above I calculated h using a least squares fit for each trial (two trials for both first and second order). My final experimental values for h and W_{0} are the weighted averages for these four calculations.
- experimental value of h: h = 4.08(64)E-15 eV
- experimental value of W_{0}: W_{0} = 1.5916(13) eV
Further Discussion
While there was not a strong correlation between a decrease in intensity and a decrease in V_{max}, I did on average see a slightly smaller V_{max} at lower intensity's. This slight drop in V_{max} corresponds to a systematic error. According to section 5.6 (technical information on the h/e apparatus) in the Planck's Constant lab (see lab manual [1]), the h/e apparatus has a high impedance amplifier that allows us to measure V_{max} with a voltmeter. The high impedance means that the voltage coming in equals the voltage going out, ie. a photoelectric current comes in, goes out unchanged and gets measured by the voltmeter and we record V_{max}. While the apparatus is good it is not perfect and as the amount of time necessary to charge the capacitor increases there is some current drain which leads to a decrease in V_{max} as intensity decreases.
- ^{SJK 22:33, 6 December 2008 (EST)}I want to note in this section how I saw yellow and green second order bands, I would like to recheck this in lab, and I also need to do some research in this area. The lab manual indicated that any band in the second order past the three blue bands were overlap from third order. It is interesting that in the Pasco lab manual [4] it both states that you can see five spectral band for mercury in the first and second order and shows that there is an overlap from the third order bands with the yellow and green second order bands.
note for final
I would also like to include a plot of my best guess for h for each trial along with my final value, all with error bars. I tried to do this but for some reason Excel would not display the axis values for h. Also is there a way to get my figures a little larger?
Conclusions
^{SJK 02:19, 8 December 2008 (EST)}The accepted value of Planck's Constant:
h = 4.13566E-15 eV
My experimental value for h compares well to the accepted value, which my value includes in a 68% confidence interval.
^{SJK 22:35, 6 December 2008 (EST)}It was fascinating that I could conduct such a simple experiment in my junior lab class, and come up with such a good value for such an important constant! It was also interesting that the difference between the quantum and wave models of light can be used to analyze the way that light is behaving in a given situation. ^{SJK 22:36, 6 December 2008 (EST)}
Acknowledgments
^{SJK 22:38, 6 December 2008 (EST)}Thanks to those who helped me during this lab;
Dr. Steve Koch, my lab professor,
Aram Gragossian, the teacher assistant in our lab, and
Daniel Young ,my lab partner.
References
- [1]: Michael Gold, "The UNM Dept. of Physics and Astronomy PHYSICS 307L: Junior Laboratory"(Fall 2006),experiment 5 (page 31-40)
- [2]: Eisberg and Resnick, "Quantum Physics of Atoms, Molecules, Solids, Nuclei, and Particles, 2nd edition" (1985, Wiley and Sons, Inc), Chapter 1 and Chapter 2, sec 2
- [3]: Taylor, "An Introduction to Error Analysis, 2nd edition" (1997, University Science Books): The details of the weighted average are in chapter 7.2, and the method of least-squares fitting is explained in detail in chapter 8
- [4] : Pasco lab manual, [link to a pdf of the Pasco lab Manual]
- [5] : CODATA, accepted value for Planck's constant [link to CODATA, Planck's constant]
- obviously I need to do some research, it will be done! I do not intend the listed sources to be my only sources.
- Steve Koch 22:38, 6 December 2008 (EST): I totally agree and I think I mentioned this above along with suggestions where to find primary "peer reviewed" reports.