Lesson Notes By Weeks and Term - Senior Secondary School 2









When light falls on a metal surface, electrons are emitted, this process is called photo electric effect emission,  the emitted electrons are known as photo electrons.

The maximum kinetic energy of the photo electrons are independent of the intensity of the incident light but depends on the frequency or wavelength of the incident light.

Increasing the intensity of light increases the number of photo electron but does not increase the energy or velocity. The absorbed energy is used to overcome the potential barrier of the  photo electrons.



Photoelectric emissions is  used in the following :

  1. Burglary alarm ii Television camera        iii Automatic devices for switching light at dusk e. street light.        Iv. Sound production of film track     v. industrial controls and counting operations.



Einstein photoelectric equation is given  by

        E = hf – w

        W = hfo

        E = maximum kinetic energy that can be given to a photo electrons

        W = work function 

        fo = Threshold frequency

        hf = W = maximum energy of the liberated. Photoelectrons.



This is the lowest frequency that can cause photo emission of electrons from a metallic surface. Below threshold frequency, emission will not occur.



This is the minimum energy required to liberate electrons from a metallic surface i.e W = hfo.


Compute the frequency of the photon whose energy is required to eject a surface electron with a kinetic energy of 3.5 x 10-16 eV if the work function of the metal is 3.0 x 10-16 eV

    (h = 6.6 x 10-34JS, 1eV = 1.6 x 10-19J ).


        E = hf – w

        E + w = hf

        E + W  = f


      =  ( 3.5 + 3.0) x 10-16 x 1.6 10-19

  1. x 10-34

      =   6.5 x 1.6 x 10-16 -19+ 34


    =  1.58 x 10-1  Hz



The threshold wavelength is the longest wavelength that will produce photo electrons when the surface is illuminated .

                W = hfo

                W = hc


Λo =   hc


The work frequency of Lithum is 2.30 V, calculate 

  1. the maximum energy in Joules of photoelectrons liberated by light of wavelength 3.3 x 10-17m
  2. the threshold wavelength of the metal.


    W = 2.3 ev

    E = hf – w

      =  hc    - w


     6.6 x 10-34 x 3.0 x 108

  1. x 1.6 x 10-19

λo = 5.4 x 10-7m




X-ray was discovered in 1895 by Williams Rontgen. X – rays are produced when thermally generated electrons from a hot filament are accelerated through a high potential difference and focused on to a tungsten target, where the electrons are suddenly stopped.


In the X- ray tube, a high potential difference is applied between the hot cathode and the anode. Electronsare emitted from the cathode and are accelerated to an extremely high speed. They are abruptly decelerated whenthey strike the anode causing the emission of high energy radiatin of short wavelength i.e X-rays. The anode becomes very hot in the process and requires cooling gins on the outside of the tube.



During X – ray production, electrical energy is converted to thermal energy. The thermal energy is converted into mechanical energy (kinetic energy ) to accelerate the electron.  The mechanical energy is converted into electromagnetic energy of the x-ray 



There are two tupes of x- rays

1.Hard x – rays  of x- rays


Characteristics of Hard x-rays


  1. High penetrating power or ability 
  2. Shorter wavelength

Characteristics of X –ray.


  1. low penetrating power
  2. longer wavelength


This is a measure of the strength or penetrating ability of the x – ray.



This is the energy radiated per unit time per unit area by the x –ray. It depends on the current of the filament .


Properties of x- rays.


  1. X – rays are electromagnetic waves of high frequency
  2. X – rays have short wavelength  ( 2 x 10-10m )
  3. X – rays have high penetrating power
  4. X-rays travels in straight line
  5. They are  not diffracted by electric or magnetic field.
  6. They are not diffracted by crystals.
  7. They ionized gases
  8. They cause zinc sulphide to fluoresce .


Application of X – ray


  1. For examining body to locate broken bones
  2. To detect metals and contra band in a baggage
  3. They are used to detect cracks n welded joints
  4. For investigating crystal structure
  5. Treatement of tumors and malignant growth
  6. It is used in agriculture to kill germs


Hazards of x- rays


  1. It causes genetic mutation
  2. It can destroy body cells

iii. it causes leukaemia, by damaging body tissues

  1. it causes skin burns and cancer.



Those who work with x-rays should put on lead coat and they should always go for regular medical check up.


WEEKend Assignment

  1. Which of the following give rise to the line spectra observed in atoms.

        (a) excitation of electrons in the atom

        (b) change of an electron from a higher to a lower energy level

        (c )Distributed photo in the nucleus

  1. Which of the following is called photo electric effect.

        (a) two electrons are created from a quantum of light

        (b) metals absorbs quanta of light and then emits electrons

        (c ) a high  energy emits  photon as it is slowed down 

  1. The minimum frequency that can cause photo emission of electrons from metal surface is known as

        (a) wavelength         (b) threshold   frequency  (c) frequency of the incident light

  1. The maximum kinetic of the photo electrons depend on

        (a) work function     (bn) frequency      (c) intensity of the incident ray   

  1. The minimum energy required to liberate an electron from a metallic surface is 

        (a) ionization energy    (b) work function     (c) kinetic energy,


  1. Define threshold wavelength 
  2. Determine the frequency of the photonwhose energy is required to eject a surface electron with a kinetic energy of 1970 x 10-19 eV.  If the work function of the metal is 1334 x 10-19eV. ( 1eV = 1.6 x 10-19J, h = 6.6 x 10-34JS,  C = 3 .0 x 108 ms-1)

© Lesson Notes All Rights Reserved 2023