Abstract

First-order perturbation theory is used to calculate the surface photoelectric current from a metal when two monochromatic plane waves are incident upon the metal’s surface. It is assumed that the difference between the incident frequencies is small compared to either of the incident frequencies. For the Sommerfeld model of a metal, it is found that the photoelectric current contains an ac term which oscillates at the difference frequency as has been observed. Furthermore, the ac term is found to be a function of the angles of incidence of the two beams as well as the dimensions of the irradiated area. It is found that in some cases it is not necessary to have the two beams parallel to observe an appreciable beat signal. The possibility of using the photoelectric mixing process in the study of surface roughness, and for the measuring of the mean wavelength of the incident radiation is discussed.

© 1964 Optical Society of America

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