Small droplets of oil are introduced into a chamber where an electric field of known strength is present. Using the viewing scope and a stopwatch, the velocity of a falling oil droplet is measured and recorded. Next, the electric field in the chamber is increased, causing the oil droplet to move upward. This allows the measurement of the force on the droplet and, ultimately, the charge of the droplet. By measuring the charge of several different oil droplets, the smallest difference in charge between them can be equated to the charge of an electron.
PASCO Advantage: PASCO’s Charge of an Electron Experiment features a 30x, bright-field, erect-image microscope for clear viewing of the oil droplets. The droplet viewing chamber utilizes a special condenser to minimize droplet drift typically caused by droplet illumination and outside air currents. An ionization source allows the droplet charge to be changed.