Three-body interactions involving clusters and films

Silvina M. Gatica, M. Mercedes Calbi, Milton W. Cole, Darrell Velegol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The three-body (triple dipole) interaction of Axilrod, Teller, and Muto (ATM) contributes 5–10 % of the total energy of condensed phases of inert elements. It is shown in this paper for clusters and films that a much larger or smaller ATM contribution can arise for other geometries or other atomic species. The ratio R of the three-body interaction energy to the two-body energy is evaluated for a wide variety of configurations. This ratio varies considerably with the geometry. For highly polarizable atoms in certain geometries, the magnitude of the three-body energy is comparable to that of the two-body energy and can be either attractive or repulsive. Systematic trends are established and explained.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number20
StatePublished - Nov 11 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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