Edinburgh Research Explorer

Twenty five years of Finnis-Sinclair potentials

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3111-3116
Number of pages6
JournalPhilosophical magazine
Issue number34-36
Early online date1 Dec 2009
Publication statusPublished - 2009


The December 2009 special issue of Philosophical Magazine published papers that illustrate the range of simulations that empirical N-body potential for transition metals, proposed by M. W. Finnis and J. E. Sinclair in 1984 have enabled. Finnis Sinclair potentials solved the local density dependence of atomic interactions in metals at a stroke. The binding energy of the solid is described by two terms. The first is a short-range repulsive interaction described by a pair potential acting between neighboring atoms. Mike Finnis and Jim Sinclair took a pragmatic approach and fitted their potentials to experimental data. By extending the range of the potentials to beyond the first neighbors and through the empirical fitting process, they were able to circumvent the fundamental limitations of the second-moment model concerning structural stability. The square root of Finnis Sinclair potentials is equivalent to the embedding function, glue and effective medium of similar potentials.

ID: 5900595