Failure of Wave Theory in Explaining Photoelectric Emission Effect

Description of failure of wave theory in explaining photoelectric effect:

Although reflection, refraction, interference, diffraction and polarisation etc. are explained on the basis of wave theory but the laws of photoelectric effect cannot be explained on the basis of the wave theory of light. There are three main reasons for failure:

1.) According to wave theory, as the intensity of incident light increases, incident energy also increases. Therefore, greater is the intensity, greater will be the energy absorbed by the electrons of metal and therefore greater should be the kinetic energy of photoelectrons. From experimental observations, it is clear that the maximum kinetic energy of photoelectrons does not depend on the intensity of incident light.

2.) According to wave theory, photoelectric emission should occur for all the frequencies provided that it has enough energy to emit the electrons from the metal. Although from experimental observation it is clear that if the frequency of incident light is less than the threshold frequency, photoelectrons are not emitted.

3.) The energy carried by the light waves is absorbed by all the electrons and not by a single electron. Therefore, if the intensity of light is less, for the emission of electrons, there should be some time to collect sufficient energy. Although it is clear from experimental observation, the electrons are emitted instantaneously, whatever small be the intensity of light.

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