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published by the PhET
This webpage contains an interactive simulation that allows users to explore and visualize the photoelectric effect experiment. Users can examine different metals, as well as control voltages accelerating the electrons, the intensity of the electron and light beams, and the wavelength of the light. Output options include graphing current vs. voltage, current vs. light intensity, and electron energy vs. light frequency.

This page also contains sample learning goals, a teacher's guide and user-submitted ideas and activities for the simulation. This simulation is part of a large and growing collection. It has been designed using principles from physics education research and refined based on student interviews.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Modern Physics
- Condensed Matter
Quantum Physics
- Foundations and Measurements
- General
- Lower Undergraduate
- High School
- Upper Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Interactive Simulation
Intended Users Formats Ratings
- Learners
- application/java
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Access Rights:
Free access
© 2005 PHET and University of Colorado
Additional information is available.
Particle Model, cathod emission, photoelectric effect, threshold frequency, wave-particle duality, work function
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created September 9, 2006 by Gifford Weber
Record Updated:
June 8, 2018 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
August 11, 2006
Other Collections:

Common Core State Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects 6—12

Key Ideas and Details (6-12)
  • RST.11-12.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to important distinctions the author makes and to any gaps or inconsistencies in the account.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas (6-12)
  • RST.11-12.9 Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible.

Common Core State Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects 6—12

Text Types and Purposes (6-12)
  • 1. Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content. (WHST.11-12.1)
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Record Link
AIP Format
(PhET, Boulder, 2005), WWW Document, (
PhET Simulation: Photoelectric Effect (PhET, Boulder, 2005), <>.
APA Format
PhET Simulation: Photoelectric Effect. (2006, August 11). Retrieved July 14, 2024, from PhET:
Chicago Format
PhET. PhET Simulation: Photoelectric Effect. Boulder: PhET, August 11, 2006. (accessed 14 July 2024).
MLA Format
PhET Simulation: Photoelectric Effect. Boulder: PhET, 2005. 11 Aug. 2006. 14 July 2024 <>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {PhET Simulation: Photoelectric Effect}, Publisher = {PhET}, Volume = {2024}, Number = {14 July 2024}, Month = {August 11, 2006}, Year = {2005} }
Refer Export Format

%T PhET Simulation: Photoelectric Effect %D August 11, 2006 %I PhET %C Boulder %U %O application/java

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source %D August 11, 2006 %T PhET Simulation: Photoelectric Effect %I PhET %V 2024 %N 14 July 2024 %8 August 11, 2006 %9 application/java %U

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