On the ionization potential of small metal and dielectric particles

Guy Makov, Abraham Nitzan, Louis E. Brus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

145 Scopus citations


The ionization potential of small metal and dielectric spheres is considered in different frameworks: classical, semiclassical, and quantum mechanical density functional approach. Classical calculations give conflicting results, and the generally accepted result for the ionization potential of a metal sphere of radius R: W1(R) = bulk work function + (3/8) q 2/R is shown to be wrong, resulting from the classical image potential too close to the metal surface. Using appropriate cutoff to the image potential, the result W1 (R) = bulk work function + (1/2)q 2/R (previously obtained from solvation energy considerations) is recovered. Experimental results on relatively large particles are in agreement with the latter result. For very small clusters, deviations of experimental results from this classical behavior are shown by a density functional calculation to arise from quantum mechanical effects. These are first the spilloff of the electronic wave functions beyond the cluster edge and secondly from exchange and correlation contributions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5076-5085
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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