Quantum Physics Equations- Summary & Examples -Photon Energy Light is made up of photons, individual packets of energy.

The energy of these individual packets is proportional to the frequency of the light, thus:

Where E is the energy, f is the frequency of the light, and h is Planck’s Constant (6.63x10-34Js). As frequency is velocity over wavelength, this gives the alternative form of:

Where c is the speed of light (3x108ms-1) and λ is the wavelength of the light. Example Find the energy of a photon of red light, whose frequency is 4×1014Hz.


10 .6

) 10


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-Photoelectric Equation Photons can free electrons from the surface of a metal, if they have sufficient energy. If they don’t have enough energy, no electrons will be released. If they have energy greater than or equal to the energy required, (the work function, Φ) then a photon will be liberated. Any excess energy becomes the electron’s kinetic energy. Altogether, this gives:

Where E is photon energy, Φ is the work function of the metal, and KEmax is the kinetic energy of the liberated electron. Example Find the photon energy required to liberate an electron from the surface of a clean zinc plate, work function 4.3eV, and grant the same electron a kinetic energy of 2.6eV. Give your answer in joules.
To convert J to eV, divide by 1.6×10-19

.3 6. 1.10


To convert eV to J, multiply by 1.6×10-19


-De Broglie Wavelength Wave-particle duality states all particles have a wavelength. De Broglie (pronounced De Broy) found the equation for this wavelength, where λ is related to the momentum of the particle, thus:

Where m is the mass of the particle, v is the particle’s velocity, h is Planck’s Constant (6.63x10-34 Js), and λ is the De Broglie wavelength of the particle. Particles will exhibit wave-like properties when passing through an opening of a similar scale to the De Broglie wavelength of the particle. The human De Broglie wavelength is tiny, hence why we aren’t diffracted when we walk through doors. Example Find the De Broglie wavelength of a can of coke, mass 0.4kg, travelling at 20ms-1.

6.63 0. .

10 0 10

-Photon Emission In an atom, electrons occupy energy levels, each with their own value of energy. Most exist in the ground state, or n=0. When energy is added, e.g. by an incident photon, electrons can become excited, and move up the energy levels. The work function of a material can be found from this: the difference in energy between the ground state, n=0, and n=∞ (where electrons are considered to be ‘free’). Additionally, photons can be emitted when an excited electron relaxes, or drops down, one or more energy levels towards n=0. The energy of this photon can be found by finding the difference in energy between the starting level and the final level, in joules. Hence:

Where E is the photon energy, E1 is the starting energy level, and E2 is the final energy level. The energy values will most often be given in eV, for you to convert into joules for the above calculation.

Example Calculate the energy of a photon emitted from a hydrogen atom when its electron relaxes from n=3 to n=0, using the below diagram. Give your answer in joules.

n=∞ 0eV

n=3 -0.85eV n=2 -1.5eV

n=1 -3.4eV

n=0 -13.6eV

Find the difference between the two energy levels, using 0. 1 . 13.6


This is the energy of the emitted photon in eV. To convert to joules, multiply by 1.6x10-19 giving you an answer of: .0 10