Although electromagnetic tide exhibit numerous characteristics and also properties that waves, lock can also exhibit part characteristics and properties of particles. We contact these "particles" photons. Due to the fact that of this, we say the light (and all EM radiation) has actually a double nature... At time it acts choose a wave, and also at other times that acts like a particle.

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Characteristics of light that suggest light behaves like a tide include:

Characteristics of irradiate that suggest light likewise acts together a particle incorporate Blackbody Radiation, the Photoelectric Effect, and the Compton Effect.

Blackbody Radiation


The radiation emitted from a really hot thing (known together black-body radiation) didn"t align through physicists" expertise of light together a wave. Specifically, very hot objects emitted radiation in a details spectrum the frequencies and intensities, i m sorry varied with the temperature the the object. Name is objects had higher intensities at lower wavelengths (toward the blue/UV end of the spectrum), and also cooler objects emitted more intensity at higher wavelengths (toward the red/infrared end of the spectrum). Physicists expected that at very short wavelength the power radiated would become very large, in contrast to it was observed spectra. This trouble was known as the ultraviolet catastrophe.

German physicist Max Planck solved this puzzle by proposing the atoms can only absorb or emit radiation in specific, non-continuous amounts, well-known as quanta. Energy, therefore, is quantized - it just exists in details discrete amounts. Because that his work, Planck to be awarded the Nobel prize in Physics in 1918.

Photoelectric Effect

Further proof that irradiate behaves choose a particle was suggest by Albert Einstein in 1905. Scientists had actually observed that once EM radiation struck a item of metal, electrons can be emitted (known together photoelectrons). What to be troubling was that no all EM radiation produced photoelectrons. Nevertheless of what soot of irradiate was incident upon the metal, the only variable that effected the development of photoelectrons to be the frequency of the light.

If power exists just in specific, discrete amounts, EM radiation exist in specific discrete amounts, and we speak to these smallest possible "pieces" that EM radiation "photons." A photon has zero mass and also zero charge, and also because that is a form of EM radiation, the velocity in a vacuum is same to c (3*108 m/s). The power of each photon of irradiate is as such quantized, and is concerned its frequency by the equation:


The value of h, well-known as Planck"s Constant, is given as 6.63*10-34 J•s.

Einstein proposed that the electrons in the metal object were held in one "energy well," and had come absorb at least enough power to traction the electron the end of the well in order come emit a photoelectron. The electrons in the metal would not be released uneven they soaked up a solitary photon v that minimum lot of energy, recognized as the work function that the metal. Any excess absorbed energy beyond that needed required to free the electron came to be kinetic energy for the photoelectron.


The computer animation below displayed a high-energy photon of irradiate being took in by one electron in one atom. Since the photon has actually an energy greater 보다 the energy holding the electron come its nucleus, the electron absorbs the photon and is emitted together a photoelectron. The kinetic power of the emitted photoelectron is specifically equal to the amount of power holding the electron to the cell nucleus subtracted from the energy of the soaked up photon.


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This theory expanded Planck"s work and also inferred the particle-like behavior of photons of light. Photoelectrons would be ejected indigenous the steel only if they took in a photon the light through frequency better than or equal to a minimum threshold frequency, corresponding to the energy of a photon same to the metal"s "electron well" energy for the many loosely organized electrons. Nevertheless of the soot of the incident EM radiation, just EM radiation in ~ or over the threshold frequency could produce photoelectrons.

Question: What is the energy of a photon of light traveling through space with a wavelength the 6×10–7 meters?



Question: The spectrum the visible irradiate emitted throughout transitions in excited hydrogen atom is written of blue, green, red, and also violet lines. What properties of irradiate determines the lot of energy carried by a photon of that light?

amplitude frequency step velocity

Answer: (2) frequency determines the energy brought by a photon.

Compton Effect

Einstein ongoing to expand his theories approximately the interaction of photons and atomic particles, going therefore far as to hypothesize the photons might have momentum, additionally a particle property, even though they had no mass.

In 1922, American physicist Arthur Compton shoot an X-ray photon at a graphite target to observe the collision between the photon and one the the graphite atom"s electrons. Compton observed that once the photon collided through an electron, a photoelectron was emitted, however the original X-ray was also scattered and also emitted, however with a much longer wavelength (indicating it had actually lost energy).

Further, the longer wavelength additionally indicated the the photon must have actually lost momentum. A detailed evaluation showed the the energy and also momentum lost by the X-ray was exactly equal come the energy and also momentum acquired by the photoelectron. Compton therefore concluded the not just do photons have actually momentum, they additionally obey the regulations of conservation that energy and conservation of momentum!

In 1923, French physicist luigi De Broglie took Compton"s detect one action further. He stated that if EM waves have the right to behave as moving particles, that would only make feeling that a relocating particle must exhibit wave properties. De Broglie"s theory was shown by shoot electrons with a dual slit, similar to Young"s double Slit Experiment, and also observing a diffraction pattern. The wavelength the a relocating particle, now known as the De Broglie Wavelength, is provided by:


Question: moving electrons are uncovered to exhibit nature of

particles, just waves, just both particles and also waves neither particles nor waves

Answer: (3) moving particles have actually both particle and wave properties.

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Question: Wave-particle duality is most evident in analyzing the movement of

a baseball a an are shuttle a galaxy an electron

Answer: (4) Wave-particle duality is most conveniently observed in little objects.