Stability of charged metal clusters in the vicinity of an ionic charge
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Stability of highly charged metal clusters in the electric field of an external ion is investigated with the classical liquid drop model. We study the optimum shape of the cluster which has a local minimum of the total energy, taking account of the effects of the surface charge polarization on the Coulomb energy and the cluster deformation on the surface energy. We find that the cluster deformation greatly affects the total energy of the system and that a cluster with a fissility larger than some critical value 0.7-0.8 can become unstable against deformation. We investigate the local competition between the Coulomb force and the surface tension at the cluster surface and show that the surface charge polarization which is induced by the external electric field significantly affects the shape of the cluster and its stability.
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