The Crucial Role of Kinetic Energy in Interpreting Ionization Energies

Frank Rioux, College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University
Roger L. DeKock

DOI: 10.1021/ed075p537


The experimental ratio of the ionization energies of H and He is 1.81. We show that it is not correct to interpret this ratio using a classical Coulombic potential energy model. Rather a quantum mechanical model is required in which both kinetic and potential energy play a role.