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Named after Dutch-American physicist and physical chemist Peter Debye.



debye (plural debyes)

  1. (physics) The CGS unit of electric dipole moment, defined as 1 D = 10-18 statcoulomb-centimetre and computable from the SI unit coulomb-metre by multiplying by the factor 3.33564 × 10-30.
    • 1976, George Scatchard, Equilibrium in Solutions: Surface and Colloid Chemistry, Harvard University Press, page 197,
      The dipole moments of water and the alcohols are about 1.8 debyes. The moments of ethers are smaller, about 1.2 debyes.
    • 1997, J. R. Becker, Crude Oil Waxes, Emulsions, and Asphaltenes, PennWell Publishing Company, page 224,
      There is considerable transfer of negative charge to the carbon atoms in the pyrrole ring, which give it a high dipole moment ≈ 1.8 Debyes.
    • 2011, Humberto Soscún, Ab initio and DFT study of the static dipole (hyper)polarizabilities of benzaldehyde and thio-benzaldehyde molecules in gas phase, G. Maroulis, T. Bancewicz, B. Champagne, A. D. Buckingham (editors), Atomic and Molecular Nonlinear Optics: Theory, Experiment and Computation, IOS Press, page 468,
      The corresponding results obtained here for of benzaldehyde range 1.298 Debyes — 1.471 Debyes, where the lower reported experimental value corresponds to the gas phase one of 1.263 Debyes, which is in good correspondence with the calculated at MP4 level (1.298 Debyes).

Usage notes[edit]

  • Historically defined as the electric dipole moment resulting from two equal but opposite charges of absolute magnitude statcoulomb separated by 1 ångström.
  • It is used much more frequently than the SI unit, being suited for measurements at the molecular scale relevant to chemistry and atomic physics. In contrast, the SI unit is inconveniently large.

See also[edit]