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Surface energy

  1. Jan 28, 2014 #1
    Does atom at the surface of a crystal have more or less energy than those in the bulk? And how does this relate to their Gibbs free energy?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 29, 2014 #2
    The notion of energy per atom in a solid is a bit ambiguous.
    The surface atoms are under-coordinated (less number of bonds), thus it is expected that the average potential energy on the surface should be higher compared to the bulk.
    I do not recall any general conclusion about the vibrational free energy of the surface or its stress-volume energy.
  4. Jan 29, 2014 #3


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    At atom at the surface has a higher electrical PE than an atom in the bulk. This is because the electric force on the atom is inward.
  5. Feb 2, 2014 #4
    So is the surface energy simple the excess energy that the surface atoms have due to unsaturated Bonds?
  6. Feb 7, 2014 #5
    This is the "unrelaxed" surface energy.
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