- Electron volt
physics, the electron volt (eV) is a unit of energy. By definition, it is equal to the amount of energy gained by a single unbound electronwhen it accelerates through an electrostatic potential difference of one volt. In SI units, it is the number which measures the charge of the electron with the unit changed from C to J.
:: 1 eV = 1.602 176 53(14)e|−19 J. [cite journal | author=Peter J. Mohr and Barry N. Taylor | title=CODATA recommended values of the fundamental physical constants: 2002 | journal=Reviews of Modern Physics | month=January | year=2005 | volume=77 | pages=1–107 | url=http://www.atomwave.org/rmparticle/ao%20refs/aifm%20refs%20sorted%20by%20topic/other%20rmp%20articles/CODATA2005.pdf | format=PDF | accessdate = 2006-07-01 | doi=10.1103/RevModPhys.77.1 An in-depth discussion of how the CODATA constants were selected and determined.]
The electron volt is now accepted within SI [cite web|url=http://www.bipm.org/en/si/si_brochure/chapter4/table7.html|title=Non-SI units whose values in SI units must be obtained experimentally|accessdate=2008-09-10|work=
International Bureau of Weights and Measures] . It is the most common unit of energy within physics, widely used in solid state, atomic, nuclear, and particle physics, often with SI prefixes milli, kilo, mega, giga, tera, or peta (meV, keV, MeV, GeV, TeV and PeV respectively).
chemistry, it is often useful to have the molar equivalent, that is the kinetic energy that would be gained by a mole of electrons passing through a potential difference of one volt. This is equal to 96.48538(2) kJ/mol. Atomic properties like the ionization energyare often quoted in electron volts.
As a unit of mass
mass-energy equivalence, the electron volt is also a unit of mass. It is common in particle physics, where mass and energy are often interchanged, to use eV/"c"², or more commonly simply eV with c set to 1, as a unit of mass.
For example, an electron and a
positron, each with a mass of 0.511 MeV, can annihilateto yield 1.022 MeV of energy. The protonhas a mass of 0.938 GeV, making a GeV a very convenient unit of mass for particle physics.:: 1 GeV = 1.783e|−27 kg
atomic mass unit, 1 gram divided by Avogadro's number, is almost the mass of a hydrogen atom, which is mostly the mass of the proton. To convert to MeV，use the formula:
::1 amu = 931.4 MeV = .9314 GeV::1 MeV = 1.074·10-3 amu
In some older documents, and in the name
Bevatron, the symbol "BeV" is used, which stands for "billion-electron-volt"; it is equivalent to the GeV.
Since MeV as a unit is often used in "nuclear energy equations", for example as in the stellar nuclear fusion process of carbon burning, among others the equation
As a unit of energy
* 1 TeV: about the energy of motion of a flying mosquito [ [http://askanexpert.web.cern.ch/AskAnExpert/en/Accelerators/LHCgeneral-en.html#8 CERN: The Large Hadron Collider in general] ] .
* 210 MeV: average energy released in fission of one Pu-239 atom.
* 200 MeV: total energy released in
nuclear fissionof one U-235 atom (on average; depends on the precise break up); this is 82 TJ/kg, or twenty thousand tonnes of TNT equivalentper kilogram.
* 17.6 MeV: total energy released in fusion of
deuteriumand tritiumto form helium-4 (also on average); this is 0.41 PJ/kg of product produced.
* 13.6 eV: energy required to ionize atomic hydrogen. Molecular bond energies are on the order of an eV per molecule.
* 1/40 eV: the
thermal energyat room temperature. A single molecule in the air has an average kinetic energy 3/80 eV.
*1 eV per amu is 96.5 MJ/kg
Relation to units of time and distance
particle physics, a system of units in which the speed of lightand the reduced Planck constant are dimensionless and equal to unity is widely used: . In these units, both distances and times are expressed in inverse energy units (while energy and mass are expressed in the same units, see Mass–energy equivalence). In particular, particle scattering lengths are often presented in units of inverse particle masses.
Outside this system of units, the conversion factors between electronvolt, second, and nanometer are the following: [http://pdg.lbl.gov/2008/reviews/consrpp.pdf C. Amsler et al., "Review of Particle Physics", Phys. Lett. B667, 1 (2008)] ]
* = 6.582 118 99(16) x 10-16 eV s;
* = 197.326 9631(49) eV nm (or MeV fm).
The above relations also allow expressing the
mean lifetimeof an unstable particle (in seconds) in terms of its decay width (in eV) via . For example, the B0 meson has a mean lifetime of 1.542(16) picoseconds, or a decay width of 4.269(44) x 10-4 eV, and its mean decay length is = 462 m.
As a unit of temperature
In certain fields, such as
plasma physics, it is convenient to use the electronvolt as a unit of temperature. The conversion to kelvins (symbol: uppercase K) is defined by using "kB", the Boltzmann constant:
For example, a typical
magnetic confinement fusionplasma is 15 keV, or 174 megakelvins.
The energy "E", frequency "f", and wavelength λ of a photon are related by
where "h" is
Planck's constantand "c" is the speed of light. For example, the spectrum of visible light consists of wavelengths ranging from 400 nm to 700 nm. Photons of visible light therefore have energies ranging from
An electron volt is also the energy of an infrared photon with a wavelength of approximately 1240 nm. Similarly, 10 eV would correspond to ultraviolet of wavelength 124 nm, and so on.
Orders of magnitude (energy)
* [http://www1.bipm.org/en/si/si_brochure/chapter4/table7.html BIPM's definition of the electronvolt]
*http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/Constants physical constants reference; CODATA data
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