Photoelectric Effect - Reflected or Absorbed?

  • #1

When a photon of insufficient energy (lower that the metal's work function) arrive on the metal's surface, what will happen?

One part of my notes says that it will be "reflected with no loss of energy", but my teacher
has recently stated that it will be absorbed and emitted back as infrared radiation/heat.

Please help :-) thanks!
  • #2
A smooth metal surface reflects light without changing the frequency. The "backing" of a mirror is a metal coating. You can even see the reflection of your own face in a shiny spoon, etc.

A "blackbody" absorbs all of the light incident on it, and reemits energy at the same rate if the temperature remains constant, but the frequency can be changed.

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