CH 301 Worksheet 2
Dr. Sparks, Fall 2010
1. Briefly explain what is meant by "wave-particle duality of light" in your own words.
Light is neither a wave nor a particle but rather something different which exhibits properties of both waves
2. What equation corresponds to the wave nature of light? Diagram the equation as part of your response. Note:
diagramming an equation involves labeling each term with its common name, its Greek name if it is a Greek
letter, its units (which may have various names) and finally discussing the proportionality of the various
terms in the equation.
The wave nature of light is described by the equation c = λ·ν, which relates the speed of light (c, meters per
) to the wavelength (λ, lambda, meters, m) and the frequency (ν, nu, Hertz, Hz, s
); because the
speed of light is a constant in a given medium, wavelength and frequency are inversely proportional.
3. What equation corresponds to the particle nature of light? Diagram the equation as part of your response.
The particle nature of light is described by the equation E = h·ν, which relates the energy of a photon (E, joules,
J) to the Planck constant (h, joule second, J·s) and the frequency (ν, nu, Hertz, Hz, s
); because the Planck
constant is just that, energy and frequency are directly proportional.
4. Using a little algebra, derive an equation that expresses a photon's energy in terms of its wavelength. What
proportionality exists between energy and wavelength?
c = λ·ν can be rearranged to ν = c/λ