work function

Physics. the least energy necessary to free an electron from a metal surface.
Thermodynamics, Helmholtz function. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
work function
1.  physics φ, Φ the minimum energy required to transfer an electron from a point within a solid to a point just outside its surface
2.  thermodynamics another name (not now used because of confusion with sense 1) for Helmholtz function

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Example sentences
Short-wavelength photons are used to ablate material from a low work function target onto a suitable substrate.
He understood the work function as the amount of energy that the electron needs to be released from the atom.
Parameters, such as work function, need to be measured.
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