My question is: Can an electron volt be considered an alternate unit for electric potential?


closed as off-topic by Dilaton, twistor59, Waffle's Crazy Peanut, user1504, Manishearth Jul 12 '13 at 5:59

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    $\begingroup$ No, it is a unit of energy en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronvolt $\endgroup$ – Michael Brown Jul 11 '13 at 1:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Michael that should be an answer $\endgroup$ – David Z Jul 11 '13 at 3:40
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidZaslavsky An answer which is just a link? $\endgroup$ – Michael Brown Jul 11 '13 at 4:06
  • $\begingroup$ It's not just a link. Even without the link, you said the eV is a unit of energy, which answers the question. $\endgroup$ – David Z Jul 11 '13 at 4:17
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    $\begingroup$ This question appears to be off-topic because it can be answered easily by means of an internet search $\endgroup$ – twistor59 Jul 11 '13 at 12:35

No. The electronvolt is a unit of energy.

It is defined as the energy gained/lost by an electron when it passes through a potential difference of 1 volt. Hence the name electronvolt. Its symbol is $eV$.

It is equal to about $1.6 × 10^{-19} J$.

It is used frequently while solving problems relating to tiny charges - like electrons and protons, etc. because it becomes easier to solve problems by calculating with numbers like $5eV$ rather than with $0.0000000000000000008J$ (which is the value of $5eV$ in joules).

Note that it is not an SI unit.


The SI unit of electric potential is a Volt, which is equivalent to a Joule per Coulomb. So for an electron-volt to be used in a unit for electric potential it will need to be divided by some unit for electric charge: $eV/C$ or something like that. I am not aware if such a unit exists in systems outside SI.

  • $\begingroup$ I am not aware if such a unit exists in systems outside SI. The cgs unit is the statvolt. $\endgroup$ – Ben Crowell Jul 11 '13 at 4:32

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