Millikan’s Oil Drop Experiment


Millikan’s Oil Drop Experiment

In this method, oil droplets in the form of mist, produced by the atomizer, were allowed to enter through a tiny hole in the upper plate of electrical condenser. The downward motion of these droplets was viewed through the telescope, equipped with a micrometer eye piece. By measuring the rate of fall of these droplets, Millikan was able to measure the mass of oil droplets. The air inside the chamber was ionized by passing a beam of X-ray through it. The electrical charge on these oil droplets was acquired by collisions with gaseous ions. The fall of these charged oil droplets can be retarded, accelerated or made stationary depending upon the charge on the droplets and the polarity and strength of the voltage applied to the plate. By carefully measuring the effects of electrical field strength on the motion of oil droplets, Millikan concluded that the magnitude of electrical charge, q, on the droplets is always an integral multiple of the electrical charge, e, that is, q = n e, where n = 1, 2, 3, …..

Millikan’s Oil Drop Experiment

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