the state of least energy of a particle, as an atom, or of a system of particles.
Origin of ground state
First recorded in 1925–30
Also called ground level.
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The state of least possible energy in a physical system, as of atoms or molecules.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
The state of a physical system having the lowest possible potential energy. For example, an electron in the lowest energy orbital in a hydrogen atom is in a ground state. The ground state of a physical system tends to be stable unless energy is applied to it from the outside; states that are not the ground state have a tendency to revert to the ground state, giving off energy in the process. Compare excited state.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.