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If a giant water wave can change the altitude of a boat, then why can't electron's position be changed by waves.

Afterall waves can make a ball rise and fall thus imparting energy to it.

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    $\begingroup$ Because the photoelectric effect has a cutoff frequency corresponding to the minimum kinetic energy of a photon needed to ionize an electron completely. No matter the intensity of the incoming light, there is zero photoelectric effect when the frequency is too low. This is incompatible with a wave description. $\endgroup$ Feb 15 at 17:43
  • $\begingroup$ but could a wave also ionize an atom? $\endgroup$
    – Mini kute
    Feb 15 at 17:46
  • $\begingroup$ For a classical wave the energy of the wave is proportional to the amplitude of the wave, not the frequency. That means that no matter what the frequency of the light is, as long as the amplitude (intensity) of the light is strong enough, we should see electrons flying off the metal. But that is not what is observed in reality. $\endgroup$ Feb 15 at 17:50
  • $\begingroup$ so are electrons repelled by EM waves as light carries no charge? $\endgroup$
    – Mini kute
    Feb 15 at 17:52
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    $\begingroup$ Somewhat related question: physics.stackexchange.com/q/68147/80706 – TL;DR: The photoeffect does not prove the quantization of the em-field. $\endgroup$ Feb 15 at 20:58

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