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Homework Help: Photoelectric effect with free electrons.

  1. Sep 22, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Is it possible for a gamma ray to interact with a free electron by mean of the photoelectric effect?

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution

    I'm not really sure. I think the answer is no simply because of the mechanics of the photoelectric effect, i.e the fact that when an electron interacts with a photon it undergoes a transition from one energy level to a higher one which can be described by its work function. And since it is a free electron that we are discussing, it can't undergo a transition from one energy level to a higher one (I think, sorry I'm not well educated on the free electron model).

    Am I correct?

    Thanks in advance for any help.

  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 22, 2009 #2


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    If by 'free electron' it means just an electron somehow in space just floating, then I'd say no.

    Photoelectric effect is for metals
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