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With the Photoelectric Effect Advanced Inquiry Lab Kit for AP* Physics 2, investigate how different materials have different work functions or minimum energy thresholds that must be overcome to emit electrons.

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AP Physics 2, Big Ideas 5 & 6, Investigation 15

This advanced-inquiry investigation explores the photoelectric effect. In the introductory portion of the experiment, an electroscope is used to demonstrate the idea that different materials have different work functions or minimum energy thresholds that must be overcome to emit electrons. This first part of the experiment also serves as an introduction to the concept that light energy can be used to move electrons. The guided-inquiry portion of the experiment demonstrates that light’s intensity is not the determining factor in electron emission from a material; rather it is the frequency or energy of the incoming light. Students must confirm this idea by using light bulbs of different intensities along with a phosphorescent strip and set of filters that transmit light of only one wavelength.

Complete for 24 students working in groups of four. All materials are reusable.

Correlation to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Science & Engineering Practices

Asking questions and defining problems
Planning and carrying out investigations
Engaging in argument from evidence
Obtaining, evaluation, and communicating information
Developing and using models

Disciplinary Core Ideas

HS-PS4.A: Wave Properties
HS-PS4.B: Electromagnetic Radiation

Crosscutting Concepts

Patterns
Systems and system models

Performance Expectations

HS-PS4-3. Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning behind the idea that electromagnetic radiation can be described either by a wave model or a particle model, and that for some situations one model is more useful than the other.