# The potential energy of two atoms-

## Homework Statement

The potential energy of two atoms with a radius r is written as-

U(r)= -4Uo[(Ro/r)^12 -(Ro/r)^6]

Find the radius at stable equilibrium and the work required to separate the two atoms.

F(r) = -dU(r)/dr

## The Attempt at a Solution

If found the stable equilibrium using the F(r) equation and setting it to zero. I have NO idea how to find the work.

A nudge in the right direction would be nice.

## The Attempt at a Solution

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epenguin
Homework Helper
Gold Member
You've worked out r at the equilibrium position.

So you can work out U at that position. I presume you're given U0, you can't get a numerical answer without it though you could get a simple symbolic expression.

U is a potential energy. Separating means moving them to infinite distance apart. The potential energy in that situation according to your formula is pretty obvious. The work separating is the difference between these two potential energies.

I trust I'm not teaching you anything but reminding you. (It seems so obvious you make me wonder if I'm missing something.)