Planck's Quantum Theory of Radiation

July 31, 2018 2 Comments

Thhe wave theory of light assumes that electromagnetic radiation propagate in the form of continuous waves. This implies that the radiant energy is absorbed generated or transmitted in a continuous fashion, i.e., the energy emitted or absorbed may have any arbitrary value.

 The wave theory successfully explained the phenomenon of propagation of light but it failed to explain several other observed phenomena. For example, it could not explain the energy distribution in black body radiation and photoelectric effect.

In 1990, Max Planck studied the energy emitted by hot body emit light radiation discontinuously in the form of small energy bundles. This led him to propose a new theory known as Quantum Theory of Radiation. 
The salient features of this theory are as follows:

1) Radiant energy is emitted or absorbed discontinuously in the form of small energy bundles or energy packets known as quanta/photons.
This implies that radiation obtained from excited atoms consist of a stream of photons and not continuous waves.

2) Each Quantum of radiation is associated with a definite amount of energy depending upon the frequency of radiation.

3) A body can emit or absorb energy only in an integral multiple of quantum. Thus, radiant energy can only be emitted as hv, 2hv and so on. Energy can never be absorbed or emitted in fraction of a quantum.

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