Analytical Technologies Singapore

Air Photoemission Explained

When light is incident on a material such as a metal or a semiconductor, the photons may have enough energy to liberate electrons from the surface, a process known as the “Photoelectric Effect.”

The energy required for electrons to escape the material is termed the work function. By varying the energy of the incoming light, the absolute work function can be established.

Based on Fowler’s analysis of photoemission, the square root (cube root for semiconductors) of the photoelectron yield is plotted on a graph versus the incident photon energy. The work function of the material under analysis is where this straight line extrapolates to zero.The energy required for electrons to escape the material is termed the work function or volta potential. By varying the energy of the incoming light, the absolute work function can be established.

 

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