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Theory of the energy distribution of photoelectrons

DuBridge, Lee A. (1933) Theory of the energy distribution of photoelectrons. Physical Review, 43 (9). pp. 727-741. ISSN 0031-899X. doi:10.1103/PhysRev.43.727.

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Because of the thermal energies of the electrons in a metal there can be no sharply defined maximum emission energy of photoelectrons, as was once supposed. On the basis of the Sommerfeld theory and the Fermi-Dirac statistics, expressions are derived for the form of the energy distribution and current voltage curves in the vicinity of the apparent maximum energy. The method used is similar to that used by Fowler in computing the total emission current. In Part I the energies normal to the emitting surface are considered. At 0°K the theoretical current-voltage curve is a parabola tangent to the energy axis at Vmax, while for higher temperatures it approaches the axis asymptotically. In Part II the treatment is extended to the total energy of emission and in this case the current-voltage curve at 0°K is a parabola concave toward the voltage axis and cutting it at a large angle. At higher temperatures there is an asymptotic approach. Even at room temperature there is an uncertainty of several hundredths of a volt in Vmax, though the theory yields a method of determining the maximum energy which would be observed at 0°K. Both parts of the theory are found to be in agreement with new experiments on molybdenum. The bearing of the theory on the photoelectric determination of h is discussed.

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Additional Information:©1933 The American Physical Society. Received 21 February 1933. In conclusion the author wishes to express his indebtedness to Dr. R. C. Hergenrother and Mr. W. W. Roehr who have carried out the experimental work described here, and to acknowledge that this work was made possible through an appropriation to the author from a grant made by the Rockefeller Foundation to Washington University for research in science.
Issue or Number:9
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:DUBpr33a
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:4263
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:11 Aug 2006
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 20:16

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