Cancellation of kinetic and potential energy in atoms, molecules, and solids

Morrel H. Cohen, V. Heine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

220 Scopus citations


In the energy levels of valence electrons in atoms, molecules, solids, and liquids, there is a contribution from the large negative potential energy inside the core of the atom and the large positive kinetic energy which the electron has there. Phillips and Kleinman have shown how the kinetic energy can be represented by a repulsive pseudopotential which cancels most of the potential energy inside the core. The explicit representation of the pseudopotential is now developed further to demonstrate more clearly the extent of the cancellation. The formalism justifies the simple models which are in common use for treating valence electrons. It is also used to relate similar atoms from different rows of the periodic table, and in particular to discuss the systematic trends in the energy levels of the alkali and noble metal atoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1821-1826
Number of pages6
JournalPhysical Review
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1961
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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