The Axilrod–Teller potential is a three-body potential that results from a third-order perturbation correction to the attractive London dispersion interactions (instantaneous induced dipole-induced dipole)
where is the distance between atoms and, and is the angle between the vectors and . The coefficient is positive and of the order, where is the ionization energy and is the mean atomic polarizability; the exact value of depends on the magnitudes of the dipole matrix elements and on the energies of the orbitals.
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