Understanding the Relationship Between Frequency and Energy

March 16, 2024


In this article, students will learn about the relationship between frequency and energy, specifically for light. In particular, they will be estimating how much energy a single photon of a specific wavelength has using the formula E = hn. They will then apply this knowledge to determine the amount of energy it takes for a photon of a specific wavelength to remove one mole of electrons from the surface of rubidium metal (a material with low electrical conductivity). This exercise, which brings together Planck’s constant, the speed of light, and the wavelength of a certain type of radiation, serves as an excellent way to help students grasp how important it is to understand that the physics of a substance is intrinsically tied to its wavelength. This concept is key when understanding why blue light has a shorter wavelength than red light, and why this difference has real-world implications for human health and safety.


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