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An Inexpensive Hobbyist Photoelectric Effect Lab Kit

  1. May 29, 2015 #1
    What materials and equipment would be needed to for a hobbyist photoelectric effect lab kit?

    If possible, trying to keep this within a budget of $50. (Cheaper if feasible).
  2. jcsd
  3. May 29, 2015 #2


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    I reckon you could do it almost for free. You can make an electroscope with careful use of tin foil (instead of the better gold leaf), suspended inside a jam jar. You need a bit of clean zinc and direct sunlight should give you enough UV to discharge the Zinc plate, when you charge it up. You can charge it up with the induction method (it's described all over the place).
  4. May 29, 2015 #3

    What about cheap monochromatic lenses? I'd like to actually measure Planck's constant and the stopping potential - if I can do so without spending much money. Also, where do you suppose I can pick up some clean zinc?
  5. May 29, 2015 #4
    And is there something special about zinc? Can another metal be used?
  6. May 29, 2015 #5


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    It needs to have a low work function but you won't be able to get hold of one of the Alkali Metals (with work functions corresponding to optical frequencies). It's the poor man's option (in a higher group), which just manages to produce photoelectrons with UV. I don't know whether anything else will do, to be honest, but it will have to obtainable and in the right group.
    UV is absorbed by many glasses so it may be hard to do what you want with the low intensity available from Sunlight. Perhaps, if you went up a mountain?? :wink:
    I'm not sure how you would bring in the stopping potential bit.
    Clean zinc is just any ol' zinc with a scraped surface. I am not totally sure just how the purity of the zinc would affect things but, hell, the basic experiment could be set up and tested in an evening. (I got a kilo of zinc from a scrap metal dealer for a GBP or two)
  7. May 29, 2015 #6


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    Free + UV lamp..

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