Gerjuoy, Edward Department of Physics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
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In quantum mechanics, the stationary state of lowest energy of a particle or a system of particles. The ground state may be bound or unbound; when bound, its energy generally is a finite amount less than the energy of the next higher or first excited state. In the typical circumstances that the potential energy is zero at infinite separation, the magnitude of the negative ground-state energy is the binding energy, that is, the energy required to separate all the particles infinitely. See also: Energy level (quantum mechanics); Excited state; Nonrelativistic quantum theory; Nuclear binding energy
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