Time Delay Statistics of Photoelectric Emissions: An Experimental Test of Classical Radiation Theory

  • W. Davis
  • L. Mandel


For many years the photoelectric effect has been taken to provide evidence for the quantum nature of electromagnetic radiation. However, as has been pointed out from time to time[1–3], if the electromagnetic field is treated as a classical, c-number perturbation acting on the bound electron, essentially the same conclusions can be reached as by quantum electrodynamics. For example, photoemission takes place only when the frequency ω is high enough for ℏω to exceed the work function W of the electrons,
$$\hbar {\rm{\omega }} > {\rm{W,}}$$
and the probability of photoemission at time t is proportional to the expectation value of the light intensity I(t) at time t,
$$_{{\text{at time t within }}\Delta {\text{t}} = {\text{constant x < I(t) > }}\Delta {\text{t}}{\text{.}}}^{{\text{photoemission probability}}}$$


Light Beam Quantum Electrodynamic Photoelectric Effect Counting Interval Dark Counting Rate 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Davis
    • 1
  • L. Mandel
    • 1
  1. 1.University of RochesterRochesterUSA

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