Millikan Oil Drop Experiment

A famous experiment designed to measure the electronic charge. Drops of oil were carried past a uniform electric field between charged plates. After charging the drop with x-rays, he adjusted the electric field between the plates so that the oil drop was exactly balanced against the force of gravity. Then the charge on the drop would be known. Millikan did this repeatedly and found that all the charges he measured came in integer multiples only of a certain smallest value, which is the charge on the electron.

See also: Electron.

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Subjects: Physics