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Atomic Interactions

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PhET Interactive Solutions
University of Colorado Boulder


  • Interaction Potential
  • Atomic Bonding
  • Van der Waals Force
  • Pauli Repulsion
  • Lennard-Jones Potential
  • Atomic Interactions


Explore the interactions between various combinations of two atoms. Observe the the total force acting on the atoms or the individual attractive and repulsive forces. Customize the attraction to see how changing the atomic diameter and interaction strength affects the interaction.

Sample Learning Goals

  • Explain how attractive and repulsive forces govern the interaction between atoms.
  • Describe the effect of potential well depth on atomic interactions.
  • Contrast the potential well and behavior of a bonded pair of atoms with unbonded pairs.
  • Describe bonds as dynamic and bond lengths as average distances.
Version 1.0.5