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Homework Help: Work function of cathode, visible light

  1. May 4, 2016 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    You need to design a photodetector that can respond to the entire range of visible light (400 nm - 700 nm). What is the maximum possible work function?

    2. Relevant equations
    E = hf = hc/lambda

    3. The attempt at a solution
    For 400nm, I got E = 3.11 eV
    and for 700nm I got 1.78 eV.

    The solution is that the maximum work function is 1.78eV or less, and I do not understand why because 3.11eV is beyond the threshold for 400nm light to emit right? So shouldn't the answer be 3.11eV or greater?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 4, 2016 #2


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    2017 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    If your material has a work function of 3.11 eV, then 400 nm light is barely able to knock out electrons, the 700 nm light at 1.78 eV/photon cannot knock out any electrons.
    If your material has a work function of more than 3.11 eV, you cannot release any electrons with visible light.

    If your work function is 1.78 eV/photon, then 700 nm light barely manages to release electrons, 400 nm light can do so easily.
  4. May 4, 2016 #3
    What is the energy of the emitted electrons for a work function of 3.11 eV with incident light of 700 nm?
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