Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 16

Michael McElroy

HSC Physics

Syllabus Summary Ideas to

1. Increased understanding of cathode rays led to the development
of television

Explain why the apparent inconsistent behaviour of cathode

rays caused debate as to whether they were charged particles
or electromagnetic waves
Evidence supporting waves
They travelled in straight lines
Caused glass to fluoresce

Evidence supporting particles

The rays left the cathode at right angles
to the surface
Influenced/deflected by magnetic fields

If an object was placed in their path, a

shadow of that object appeared
(Maltese cross)

They were not affected by electric fields

(later proved incorrect by J.J Thompson)

They could pass through thin metal

foils without damaging them

Could transfer momentum (could turn

small paddle wheels)
Travelled much slower than light

Amongst all this evidence, and the demonstration that Heinrich

Hertz performed in 1883 that showed (incorrectly) that cathode rays
are not deflected by electric fields, the belief that cathode rays were
electromagnetic waveforms became more widely accepted.
However, in 1897, J.J Thomson finally came to the conclusion that
cathode rays were streams of negatively charged particles. He
construed that a cathode ray tube at a high gas pressure (similar to
what Hertz used in his assumption) led to the gas within it to
become ionised from the rays. The ions would then be attracted to
the plate with the opposite charge and cover the surface of the
plate - effectively neutralising the charge on the plate. This then
allowed the cathode rays to pass by unaffected. This discovery
then led Thomson to evacuate a cathode ray tube to a low pressure
that would allow the rays to be influenced by the plates. He
observed that the particles were always deflected towards the
Page 1 of 16

Michael McElroy

HSC Physics

positive plate; which confirmed that they were negatively charged


Explain that cathode ray tubes allowed the manipulation of a

stream of charged particles
- A cathode ray tube is a glass tube that contains very low gas
pressure, with two electrodes connected to a high voltage source at
either end. At normal levels of temperature and pressure, air is an
insulator. However, at reduced pressures air conducts electricity.
This is the principle for the cathode ray tube as electricity flows
throughout the tube. The charged particles can further be
manipulated when under the influence of magnetic and electric
fields, which can influence the direction of travel of the particles.

Identify that moving charged particles in a magnetic field

experience a force
- A charged particle sets up its own magnetic field when moving. This
magnetic field will therefore interact with an external magnetic field
producing a force.

Identify that charged plates produce an electric field

- An electric field can be produced between two parallel plates that
have a potential difference between them. The electric field
between two charged plates is uniform, with the field lines running
from the positive plate to the negative plate perpendicularly.

Describe quantitatively the force acting on a charge moving

through a magnetic field

F=qvB sin

The force (F) acting on a charge (q) moving with a velocity (v) at an
angle to a magnetic field (B), is given by:

F=qvB sin

Where F = magnetic force (N)

q = charge (C)
v = velocity of charge (m/s)
B = magnetic field strength (T)

Discuss qualitatively the electric field strength due to a point

charge, positive and negative charges and oppositely charged
parallel plates

Describe quantitatively the electric field due to oppositely

charged parallel plates

Page 2 of 16

Michael McElroy

HSC Physics

If the potential difference between two plates is V and the

separation of the plates is d then the electric field E is given by :



A charge moving in this field will experience a force. The force F

acting on a charge q is an electric field E is given by:


Outline Thomsons experiment to measure the charge/mass

ratio of an electron

J.J. Thompson created a cathode ray tube that had electric and
magnetic fields in it. By doing this, he observed that the cathode
rays behaved differently when subject to an electric or magnetic
field. That being, the rays would be deflected in an electric field
(towards the positive plate) with a force of qE where q is the charge
and E is the electric field strength. Similarly a magnetic field could
be arranged that would cause the beam to be deflected upwards in
the arc of a circle (like centripetal force) with a force of qvB, that is:


mv 2
q v
m Br

When utilising the magnetic field and electric fields simultaneously,

the cathode rays could be made to pass through undeflected. When
this happens the two forces are balanced, that is,

qE=qvB v=


And since E and B could be calculated, v could be found and hence

q/m could be calculated (the charge to mass ratio). Thomson found
that all cathode rays had the same q/m ratio, that being a value
that is approximately 1800 times greater than the ratio for
hydrogen ions. This meant that cathode rays were about 1/1800 the
mass of the hydrogen ion. This was the first discovery hat cathode
rays were subatomic particles.

Outline the role of:

- Electrodes in the electron gun
o An electron gun produces a narrow beam of electrons. It
consists of a filament, a cathode and two open-cylinder
anodes. The filament produces the electrons by thermionic
emission, that is, heating the filament until electrons boil
off. Anodes in the device help to accelerate and focus the
electrons, while a ring shaped electrode (the grid) between
the cathode and the anodes controls the brightness.

Page 3 of 16

Michael McElroy

HSC Physics

The deflection plates or coils

o The deflection plates or coils are utilised to control the
vertical and horizontal deflection of an electron beam. This is
done connecting a potential difference to the plates/coils
which produces an electric field between the plates/coils.

The fluorescent screen in the cathode ray tube of

conventional TV displays and oscilloscopes
o The fluorescent screen is glass that is coated with a
florescent material. When an electron beam hits the screen,
the coating fluoresces and a spot of light is seen on the

2. The reconceptualisation of the model of light led to an

understanding of the photoelectric effect and black body radiation

Describe Hertzs observation of the effect of a radio wave on

a receiver and the photoelectric effect he produced but
failed to investigate.

In Hertzs spark-gap coil experiment, he noticed that light affected the intensity
of the spark in the receiver. This was discovered by placing glass an absorber of
ultraviolet light between the transmitter and receiver. Hertz discovered that UV
light from the transmitter spark was causing electrons to join the receiver spark,
making it stronger and allowing a spark to occur over a larger gap. Hertz did not
investigate this further, but today this phenomenon is known as the photoelectric effect, were electrons are freed from a metal lattice allowing them to
flow across a gap.

Outline qualitatively Hertzs experiments in measuring the

speed of radio waves and how they relate to light waves

Prior to Hertzs experimental investigations of radio waves, James Maxwell had

proposed a link between electricity and light and that there were existing
electromagnetic waves with a range of frequencies, that would all travel at the
speed of 3 x 108. Hertz experimented with a spark-gap coil and found that he
could reliably generate a corresponding spark across a parallel coil a few metres
away. By analysing these results Hertz found that the waves exhibited the
properties of reflection, refraction, interference, diffraction and polarisation, and
they travelled at the speed of light. Hertz therefore provided experimental
evidence that light is a form of transverse electromagnetic wave and confirmed
the existence of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Identify Plancks hypothesis that radiation emitted and

absorbed by the walls of a black body cavity is quantised

Page 4 of 16

Michael McElroy

HSC Physics

A black body is a perfect emitter or absorber of energy. Classical physics

predicted that, as the wavelength of radiation emitted becomes shorter, the
radiation intensity would increase. This increase in energy however, would
increase without limit and violate the principle of conservation of energy. This
effect was known as the ultraviolet catastrophe. Experimental observations
from black body experiments showed that the radiation intensity corresponding
to a given temperature has a definite peak, passing through a maximum and
then declining, this could not be explained however. It is this problem that led to
the beginning of the quantum theory of physics, with Max Planck at the forefront
of this. Planck hypothesised that radiation (energy) is not emitted or absorbed by
a black body continuously as classical physics suggests, but rather it is emitted
or absorbed in little bursts or packets of energy quanta (or photons ) of energy.
Mathematically this is E=hf where E is the energy of the photon, h is a constant
called Plancks constant (6.626 x 10-34 j.s) and f is the frequency.

Identify Einsteins contribution to quantum theory and its

relation to black body radiation

The photoelectric effect is the emission of electrons from substances, in

particular metals, when they are bombarded with light (usually in the high
frequency range, such as ultraviolet). This phenomenon was first discovered by
Hertz, but was further experimentation was carried out by Philipp Lenard. During
his work Lenard studied the relationship between energy of the emitted
photoelectrons and the intensity and frequency of the incident light. The incident
light caused photoelectrons to be given off from the emitter and move towards
the collector. These results found by Lenard however, contradicted the
predictions made in respect to classical physics and the classical wave theory,
ultimately meaning that classical physics was unable to explain the photoelectric

However, Einstein used the basis of Plancks quantum idea (particle model) to
explain the photoelectric effect. He stated that:

The energy of light is concentrated in bundles or packets of

energy, or photons.
Each photon has energy given by Plancks relationship: E=hf, and
therefore relied on frequency
A photon could give up all (or none) of its energy to one electron,
but it could not give only part of it
The maximum kinetic energy of the emitted electron (E k max) was
equal to the initial photon energy minus the work done in
overcoming the attractive forces near the surface; that is, (E k max)
=hf- where is the work function (=hf0) and f0 is the threshold
frequency that is the minimum frequency that would cause
photoemission. Note that the work function is a certain amount of
energy required for photoemission

Page 5 of 16

Michael McElroy

HSC Physics

These principles can therefore be applied to the factors tested in Lenards




Einsteins model


As the light intensity

increases, the
photocurrent will

As the light intensity

increased, so did the

Emission time

For low intensity light,

the time for the
electrons to be
emitted will be long

If emission occurred, it
was instantaneous,


Emission is
independent of


As the light intensity

increases, the kinetic
energies of the
photoelectrons will

Emission was
frequency dependant.
Below a certain
frequency (the
threshold frequency)
no electrons were
emitted, regardless of
the intensity of the
As the intensity
increased, the
maximum kinetic
energy (Ek max)
remained constant. Ek
max was found to
depend on the
frequency of light used
and the type of

Intensity is measured
by the number of
photons per unit area,
which means that as
the intensity is
increased the number
of photons will be
increased hence the
photocurrent is
A photon transfers all
its energy to the
electron, provided this
energy is greater than
the work function, the
electron will leave
immediately. If
however, hf < the
electron will not be
Since the energy of
the photon is
dependent on
frequency, then it
follows, if the
frequency is too low
the available energy
may be too low to
release the electron
Intensity is
independent of photon
energy. Since it is the
photon energy that
determines the Ek max
of the electron, then Ek
max must also be
independent of

Explain the particle model of light in terms of photons with

particular energy and frequency

It can be understood that light is of a particle nature and consists of a stream of

particles, or packets of energy known as photons. The energy of a photon is
represented by E=hf and is proportional to the frequency of the light. This means
that the higher the frequency of the light, the more energy the photon possesses
Page 6 of 16

Michael McElroy

HSC Physics

(i.e. photons of ultraviolent light have higher energy than those of visible light
such as blue, red etc.). The intensity of light depends of the number of photons
per unit area, which means that as intensity is increase the number of photons
will be increased.

Identify the relationships between photon energy,

frequency, speed of light and wavelength:




The energy of a photon is given by the relationship E = h x f, where:

E is the energy of the photon in joules (or electron volts)

h is Plank's constant: 6.6 X 10-34 J s
f is the frequency of the light in hertz (seconds-1).

The speed of light is given by the relationship c = f x , where


c is the speed of light: 3 x 108 m s-1

f is the frequency of the wave
is the wavelength of the wave.

By combining the two equations we can get a relationship between energy and



Identify data sources, gather, process and present

information to summarise the use of the photoelectric effect
in photocells

A photo cell is a device that converts energy from sunlight into electrical energy
by using the photoelectric effect. Essentially photocells consist of a cathode and
anode. The cathode is coated with a photosensitive material that emits electrons
when light falls on it. The photoelectrons are accelerated to the anode resulting
in a photocurrent that is proportional to the intensity of the light falling on the
cathode. Some uses of photocells include electric eyes, burglar alarms,
radiation detectors and light meters.

Process information to discuss Einsteins and Plancks

differing views about whether science research is removed
from social and political forces.

3. Limitations of past technologies and increased research into the

structure of the atom resulted in the invention of transistors

Page 7 of 16

Michael McElroy

HSC Physics

Identify that some electrons in solids are shared between

atoms and move freely
Describe the difference between conductors, insulators and
semiconductors in terms of band structures and relative
electrical resistance
- The band structure of a solid relates to the (energy bands) of an
atom relate to the different levels of electron orbitals.

Energy level

Condition band
Valence band

Conduction band
Energy gap

Condition band
Energy gap

Valence band
Valence band

Identify absences of electrons in a nearly full band as holes,

and recognise that both electrons and holes help to carry

When an electron is excited into the conduction band, it leaves a

vacancy in the valance band. This vacancy is known as a hole. The
hole behaves like a positively charged particle and moves in the
opposite direction to the electron. In reality, the other electrons in
the valence band move to fill the vacancy, but in doing so the leave
behind another vacancy, resulting in the apparent motion of the
hole. It is this motion of electrons and holes that contribute to an
electric current.

Compare qualitatively the relative number of free electrons

that can drift from atom to atom in conductors,
semiconductors and insulators

Large number of electrons can drift from atom to atom in the
conduction band

There are some electrons available to drift from atom to atom in the
conduction band; this can be increased by adding energy in the
form of heat

There are no electrons available to drift from atom to atom in the
conduction band
Page 8 of 16

Michael McElroy

Identify that the use of germanium in early transistors is

related to lack of ability to produce other materials of suitable

Doping a semiconductor involves replacing some of the atoms of

the Group IV element (silicon/germanium) with atoms from Group III
or Group V of the periodic table. Group III elements include boron,
aluminium, gallium and indium, while Group V elements include
nitrogen, phosphorus, arsenic and antimony. Doping a
semiconductor can change the semiconductors electrical properties
by changing the number of holes present of the number of free
electrons, this changes how well semiconductor conducts.

Identify differences in a p and n-type semiconductors in terms

of the relative number of negative charge carriers and positive

Germanium, a group IV element, was first used to produce

transistors as it was the most pure material available. However,
Silicon (also a group IV element), became more prominent as
purification methods had been developed for it. Silicon was also
more abundant and cheaper than germanium and could retain its
properties at high temperatures, therefore making it more

Describe how doping a semiconductor can change its

electrical properties

HSC Physics

A group IV element will have 4 valence electrons, with no excess

electrons or holes. However when doped some free electrons or
holes may be present. If a group IV element is doped with a group V
element (with 5 valence electrons), there will be one electron left
out of the covalent bond. This then produces an n-type
semiconductor because it has excess negative charges. If a group IV
element is doped with a group III element (with 3 valence
electrons), there will be one electron short of bonding (i.e. a positive
hole is formed). This then produces a p-type semiconductor because
there is a deficiency of electrons.

Describe differences between solid state and thermionic

devices and discuss why solid state devices replaced
thermionic devices

Solid state devices and thermionic devices operate with the same
purpose. They can modify, amplify or switch electric signals.
However a few differences between the two are:

Page 9 of 16

Michael McElroy

HSC Physics

Solid state devices are much more reliable to thermionic

Solid state devices used less energy to run
Solid state devices are much lighter, smaller and cheaper
than thermionic devices
Thermionic devices take longer to start up and produces vast
amounts of heat
Thermionic devices are much more fragile and had poor

It is for these reasons that solid state devices replaced thermionic

devices. An increase in mass communication such as radios and
transmitters ultimately led to solid state devices becoming more

Gather, process and present secondary information to discuss

how shortcomings in available communication technology lead
to an increased knowledge of the properties of materials with
particular reference to the invention of the transistor

The transistor operates on the basis of a p-n junction. A p-n junction

consists of two joined pieces of an n-type and p-type semiconductor
and acts as a diode (or rectifier). A typical transistor consists of two
p-n junctions in close proximity or a piece of either n or p-type
semiconductor sandwiched between two pieces of the opposing
type of semiconductor. These regions or layers are known as the
emitter, base and collector layers.
The configuration of a transistor are referred to either npn or pnp
transistors and relate to the injection of electrons (npn) or holes
(pnp) into the base. The properties of a transistor change if it is
forward or reverse bias, which can result in such processes as

Identify data sources, gather, process, analyse information and

use available evidence to assess the impact of the invention of
transistors on society with particular reference to their use in
microchips and microprocessors

The effects on society include a massive boom in technology that

has assisted society in everyday life. The development of the
transistor means integrated circuits are featured in most computing
systems, which allows for faster and more efficient electronic
functions to take place in the electrical devices found in the
common home such as radios, televisions, computers and
telephones. The transistor and integrated circuits also account for
the miniaturisation of microchips and processors in electronic
devices that ultimately allows for a smaller device to be produced

Page 10 of 16

Michael McElroy

HSC Physics

with equal or greater capabilities than previously used bigger

devices. Convenience and portability are the main advantages of
the miniaturised devices.

Identify data sources, gather, process and present information

to summarise the effect of light on semiconductors in solar

4. Investigations into the electrical properties of particular metals at

different temperatures led to the identification of
superconductivity and the exploration of possible applications

Outline the methods used by the Braggs to determine crystal


The Braggs used the interference patterns of reflected X-rays off a crystal to
determine its crystal lattice structure. They did this by using an X-ray tube to
emit X-rays onto a sample. They determined that X-rays could penetrate the
surface of matter and reflect from the atomic lattice planes within the crystals,
due to their short wavelength (approximately the size of an atom). These
reflected waves often interfered (superimposed) with one other, sometimes
causing constructive interference, resulting in intensity maximum and
destructive interference, resulting in an intensity minimum. The interference
pattern is also known as diffraction, as it was believed by the Braggs that the
crystal lattice acts as a diffraction grating (a device for producing interference
effects). A photographic film was used to allow for the interference pattern of the
X-rays to be seen (bright spots represented intensity maximums or constructive
interference). Measuring the geometry of the interference pattern then allowed
Layers of a crystal lattice or diffraction grating
the Braggs to deduce the spacing of the lines on the diffraction grating (crystal
lattice). Ultimately, with the use of Braggs Law, analysis of the interference
pattern as well as the angles involved therefore allowed for the calculation of the
crystal layer spacing which would determine the crystal lattice structure.

Reflected X-rays that will interfere with each other to produce a pattern

Identify that metals possess a crystal lattice structure

Page 11 of 16

Michael McElroy

HSC Physics

The atoms in a crystal are in a regular repeating pattern called the crystal lattice.
In each type of crystal structure a certain fundamental grouping of atoms is
repeated indefinitely in three dimensions, called a unit cell. It is these unit cells
that repeat itself throughout the crystal to form the lattice. A few types of
crystals are molecular crystals and infinite arrays, which include metallic
crystals, ionic crystals and continuous covalent crystals.

Describe the conduction in metals as a free movement of

electrons unimpeded by the lattice

General metals have only one, two or three electrons in their valance shell.
These electrons are only loosely bound to the positive ions, meaning that a metal
consists of a lattice of positive ions surrounded by a sea of electrons that are
free to move under the influence of an electric field. These electrons move
randomly and collide with each other and the lattice constantly. This random
motion of electrons results with no net movement of charge. However, when a
potential difference is applied to the metal an electric field is established that
creates a force that causes the electrons to drift in a common direction. This
drift velocity is proportional to-ethe applied

+-e +


-e + -e

Sea or cloud of electrons



+-e +


+ -e

+ -e +

-e +

Positive ions

Identify that resistance in metals is increased by the presence

of impurities and scattering of electrons by lattice vibrations

The resistance in a metal increases when electrons collide with impurities or

imperfections in the lattice. Similarly, resistance increases when the temperature
of the metal increases, leading to the ions of the lattice to vibrate. This vibration
impedes electron movement and increases the probably of electrons to collide
with it, thus disrupting their movement and increasing the resistance.

Describe the occurrence in superconductors, below their

critical temperature, of a population of electron pairs
unaffected by electrical resistance

Resistance ()

Superconductivity is the phenomenon exhibited by certain conductors where

they have no resistance to current. The transition from resistance to no
Normal conductivity
resistance is called the critical temperature. Below this temperature, the flow of
electrons becomes ordered, and collisions with the lattice stop. This allows
Critical temperature, Tc
electron pairs (discussed later
on) to move through the material without loss of
energy there is zero resistance to movement.
Normal conductivity

Page 12 of 16
Temperature (K)

Michael McElroy

HSC Physics

Discuss the BCS theory

The BCS theory explains how superconductivity occurs. The theory states that at
the critical temperature of a material, an electron moving through the lattice is
able to attract atoms close to it and distort the lattice. This causes the atoms of
the lattice to become slightly closer together, meaning that there is an area of
slightly increased positive charge. This extra positive charge then draws in an
electron which links up which another electron when they absorb energy known
as a phonon that is released from the distortion of the lattice. The link up of
electrons is called a Cooper pair. A Cooper pair can move through the lattice
without loss of energy, and is unaffected by impurities or lattice vibration. The
discharge and absorption of phonons between the electrons will allow them to
remain together, however the bond will be broken when the temperature of the
material rises.

Lattice distortion


Cooper pair

Discuss the advantages of using superconductors and identify

limitations to their use

Page 13 of 16

Michael McElroy

HSC Physics



No resistance means no energy losses

o Leads to energy savings
o Low volt transformers
o Electricity can be sent infinite
o Avoids loss of efficiency via
transformers (transformers would
no longer be necessary as
electricity could be transmitted at
the desired current meaning that
DC would instead be preferred

Need expensive and sophisticated

cooling systems in order to maintain
low temperature

Allows for more efficient generators

o High magnetic fields means
greater currents in same rotor

High installations costs

Allows for:
o The development of magnetic
resonance imaging (MRI) machines
o The development of Maglev trains
o The development of
superconducting quantum
interference devices (SQUIDs) that
are necessary for doctors to
analyse aspects of the brain
o Greater efficiency in computer
o More efficient generators as high
magnetic fields means greater
currents in same rotor

Current high temperature

superconductors are ceramic and are
too brittle/not ductile enough to be
made into wires

Essential in the operation of particle

Lower demand for new power stations

Process information to identify some of the metals, metal

alloys and compounds that have been identified as exhibiting
the property of superconductivity and their critical

Tc (K)
Page 14 of 16

Tc (C)

Michael McElroy

HSC Physics

Niobium-aluminiumgermanium alloy
Tin-niobium alloy
Metal oxide ceramics







Analyse information to explain why a magnet is able to hover

above a superconducting material that has reached the
temperature at which it is superconducting

When a superconductor is at or below its critical temperature, a magnetic field

cannot penetrate its interior. Instead the external field induces a current to flow
(eddy currents) that produces a magnetic field inside the superconductor that
balances-out the field that would otherwise have penetrated the substance. This
repulsive force produced is known as the Meissner effect and can allow for
magnets to levitate or float above its surface.

Gather and process information to describe how

superconductors and the effects of magnetic fields have been
applied to develop a maglev train

The Maglev train uses magnetic levitation for propulsion. They operate on the
basis of magnetic repulsion, which involves having magnetised coils running
along the rack that repel large magnets on the trains undercarriage. When the
train is levitated, power is supplied to the coils on the track that generate
magnetic fields that pull and push the train along the track. The electric current
supplied in the coils in the track is constantly alternating to change the polarity
of the magnetised coils. This change in polarity in the magnets along the track
generates a series of repulsive and attractive forces that causes the magnetic
field in front of the train to pull the vehicle forward, while the magnetic field
behind the train pushes it forward. This method of propulsion allows for
frictionless movement, making it possible to reach high speeds with easy

Process information to discuss possible applications of

superconductivity and the effects of those applications on

Page 15 of 16

Michael McElroy

HSC Physics

computers, generators and motors and transmission of

electricity through power grids
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Superconductors are used in the operation of MRI machines because they can
generate large magnetic fields (4 teslas) without energy losses. These magnetic
fields can be produced with enough separation between the poles for people to
fit in. This imaging is particularly useful to produce images of soft tissue in a noninvasive and non destructive way.
Power transmission
With the use of superconductors to transmit electricity, energy losses would be
eliminated as there would be no resistance in the wires. This would mean DC
could be used instead of AC because the constant direction switching in AC
causes energy losses and heating. This also means power plants, with their
environmental problems, could built well away from populated areas
Power generation
Power generation would benefit greatly from superconductors as generators
would be much more efficient and smaller. Less fossil fuel would be required to
produce electricity which would reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases form
power plants.
Electronics, especially computers would benefit greatly from superconductors as
there would energy losses from resistance, something which inhibits the speeds
of computers. Superconductors would allow for an increase in speed and
miniaturisation of computer chips, with electronic switches being sent much
faster from superconducting switching.
Superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID)
SQUIDs are a superconducting instrument that measures tiny magnetic fluxes
that generate electrical impulses in a device. This ability can be put to use for
medical diagnostics as doctors can measure the minute changes in magnetic
field caused by nerve impulses in the brain or heart.

Page 16 of 16