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Energetics and stability of discrete charge distribution on the surface of a sphere

Oymak, H
Erkoç, Şakir
We have investigated the minimum-energy distribution of N, 3 ≤ N ≤ 97, equal point charges confined to the surface of a sphere. Charges interact with each other via the Coulomb potential of the form 1/r. Minimum-energy distributions have been determined by minimizing the tangential forces on each charge. Further numerical evidence shows that in the minimum-energy state of N charges on the sphere, it is not possible to place a charge at the geometrical center. Besides, it has been found that the most and reliable information about the relative stability properties of the distributions can be obtained with the help of second difference energy consideration.