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# Electrons, waves and photons - Key terms and definitions

Electricity

What is electric current?

Electric current is a net flow of charged
particles; current in a metal is due to the
movement of electrons, whereas in an
electrolyte the current is due to the
movement of ions.

What is conventional
current?

Conventional current is in the opposite
direction to the flow of electrons and is
represented by an arrow from the positive
side of the battery.

What is mean drift
velocity?

The mean drift velocity is the average
velocity of a charge carrier in a current.

Define the Coulomb

1 Coulomb = 1 Amp multiplied by 1
second.
(The Coulomb is the unit of charge)

State Kirchhoff’s 1st Law.
From which conservation law
does it follow?

The total current leaving a junction in a
circuit is equal to the total current entering
the junction.
It follows from the conservation of charge.

Define electromotive force
(e.m.f.)

Energy transferred into electrical energy
per unit charge moved (from other forms of
energy e.g. chemical)

Define potential
difference (p.d.)

Energy transferred from electrical energy
per unit charge moved (into other forms of
energy e.g. light)

Define the volt

1 volt = 1 Joule per Coulomb.
The volt is the unit of potential difference
and e.m.f.

How does resistivity change with temperature? The resistivity of a metal increases as temperature increases. across a component divided by the current through it.Key terms and definitions State Kirchhoff’s 2nd Law From which conservation law does it follow? In any closed loop in a circuit the sum of the e. waves and photons .Electrons. Define resistivity A property of a material that affect resistance. It follows from the conservation of energy Define resistance p.s (energy givers) is equal to the sum of the p. Define power Energy transferred per second (or the rate of energy transfer).d.m. A = cross sectional area of conductor. defined by the equation ρ = RA/L where R = resistance. Define the Watt 1 Watt = 1 Joule per second (the Watt is the unit of power) .d.s (energy takers). L = length of conductor.d.f. the resistivity of a semiconductor decreases as the temperature increases. (the ohm is the unit of resistance) State Ohm’s Law For a conductor at constant temperature. the p. (Resistance is the opposition to the flow of current) Define the Ohm 1 ohm = 1 volt per ampere. across a component is proportional to the current through it.

d What can a potential divider circuit be used for? A potential divider circuit can be used to produce a variable p.Ir Give 3 equations used to calculate electrical power P = VI P = I2R P = V2/R .d? The measured voltage across the output of a battery is known as the terminal p. (for example using a thermistor or LDR to change output voltage in response to temperature / light level) How are e. power packs) have an internal resistance. They are related by the equation V = e. (e.d..Electrons.m. waves and photons .f. V.Key terms and definitions Define the kilo-watt hour 1 kilowatt hour = the energy transferred by a 1kW appliance in 1 hour. batteries.d. terminal p..f. The measured voltage across the output of the battery is known as the terminal p.d. r.g.m. (the kWh is a unit of energy in calculations of domestic electricity) What is terminal p.f .m. and internal resistance related? All sources of e.

What is a stationary wave? A stationary wave (or standing wave) is a wave pattern produced when two progressive waves of the same frequency travelling in opposite directions superimpose. light). (period = 1 / frequency) . What is a longitudinal wave? Longitudinal waves. waves and photons .g. have vibrations perpendicular to the direction the wave travels Define displacement Displacement – distance of any part of the wave from its undisturbed position Define amplitude Amplitude – maximum displacement of the travelling wave Define wavelength the distance between adjacent peaks (or adjacent troughs) Define the period of a wave The time taken for one complete cycle of the wave. or travelling.Electrons. such has sound. wave is caused by vibrations or oscillations and transfers energy from one place to another.Key terms and definitions Waves What is a progressive wave? A progressive. What is a transverse wave? Transverse waves. such as electromagnetic waves (e. have vibrations parallel to the direction the wave travels.

most noticeable when the gap size is similar to the wavelength of the wave. (approx. Define the frequency of a wave the number of oscillations or cycles per second (frequency = 1 / period) How is wave speed calculated? Wave speed is equal to the frequency multiplied by the wavelength. waves and photons . also intensity is proportional to amplitude2. The speed the wave travels at will depend on the medium it travels through. What is refraction? Refraction is change in direction of a wave when it travels between two media due to the change in speed of the wave. One wavelength is equivalent to a phase difference of 360° or 2π radians.0 x 108 ms-1) . What is reflection? Reflection is when a wave bounces off a surface. What do all electromagnetic waves have in common? All electromagnetic waves travel at the same speed in a vacuum. What is diffraction? Diffraction is the spreading out of a wave round an obstacle or through a gap. the angle of incidence (with respect to the normal) is equal to the angle of reflection. 3.Electrons.Key terms and definitions Define phase difference The difference in phase between two waves or between two points on the same wave. What is intensity? Intensity is equal to power divided by cross-sectional area.

Light is partially polarised on reflection. What is Malus’ law? Malus’ law describes the transmitted intensity of light from a polarising filter in relation to the angle θ between the plane of polarisation of the wave and the analysing filter.Electrons. What is interference? Interference – addition of two or more waves to produce a wave of a new pattern What is constructive interference? Constructive interference occurs when the two waves are in phase and the displacements add to increase the amplitude. waves and photons . Nodes – points of zero displacement on a stationary wave caused by destructive interference . What is the principle of superposition? The principle of superposition of waves states that when two waves meet the resultant displacement will be the sum of the individual displacements of the two waves at that point. I = Imax cos² θ.Key terms and definitions What is meant by plane-polarised waves? Plane-polarised waves are transverse waves that oscillate only in one plane. What is destructive interference? Destructive interference occurs when the two waves are in anti-phase (180° out of phase) and the displacements add to decrease the amplitude (cancel out) What is meant by coherence? What is a node? Coherence describes waves that are the same frequency and have a constant phase relationship.

Harmonics are multiples of the fundamental frequency of a stationary wave. Quantum What is a photon? A photon is a quantum (or packet) of energy of electromagnetic radiation.Key terms and definitions What is an antinode? Antinodes – points of maximum amplitude on a stationary wave caused by constructive interference What is the separation between adjacent nodes (or antinodes)? The separation between adjacent nodes (or antinodes) = λ/2.Electrons. c = speed of light) 1 electronvolt = the energy transferred when 1 electron moves through a potential difference of 1 volt. E = hf Photon energy E = hf (or E = hc/ λ ) How is the energy of a photon calculated? Define the electronvolt (where h = Planck’s constant. f = frequency. (half a wavelength) What is meant by the fundamental mode of vibration? What are harmonics? Fundamental mode of vibration is the simplest stationary wave corresponding to the lowest frequency. . waves and photons . λ = wavelength.

What phenomenon provides evidence for the wave nature of particles? Electron diffraction provides evidence for the wave nature of particles such as electrons. Define the work function of a metal The minimum energy required to release an electron from the surface of a metal. whereas phenomena such as interference and diffraction provide evidence for the wave nature. How is the wavelength of a particle calculated from its momentum? Using the de Broglie equation Wavelength λ = h/mv (h = Planck’s constant.Electrons. Energy is conserved when a photon interacts with an electron. mv = momentum = mass x velocity) Explain the terms in Einstein’s photoelectric equation. waves and photons . KEmax is the maximum kinetic energy of electrons released. hf = φ + KEmax hf = φ + KEmax hf = energy of incident photon. What phenomena are evidence for the particle and wave nature of light? The photoelectric effect provides evidence for a particle nature of electromagnetic radiation. φ is the work function of the metal (energy required to release an electron from the surface). Define the term threshold frequency The lowest frequency of electromagnetic radiation that will result in the emission of a photoelectron. What phenomenon provides evidence for discrete energy levels in isolated atoms? Spectral lines are evidence for the existence of discrete energy levels in isolated atoms (hf = E1 – E2 and hc/ λ = E1 – E2). .Key terms and definitions Describe the photoelectric effect The emission of electrons from the surface of a metal due to the incidence of electromagnetic waves. one photon transfers energy to one electron. The equation derives from conservation of energy.

electrons travelling through polycrystalline graphite will be diffracted by the atoms and the spacing between the atoms. Plot V against 1/λ.Key terms and definitions How can electrons be used to determine the arrangement of atoms in a material? Diffraction of electrons by matter can be used to determine the arrangement of atoms and the size of nuclei. waves and photons . Gradient is hc/e .Electrons. Repeat for several different LEDs (different λ). Describe an experiment to measure Planck’s constant (h) using LEDs Measure the voltage V required to just produce light from an LED with known wavelength λ. Electron energy eV is transformed to photon energy hc/λ. For example.