 x Potential Encyclopedia
• In linguistics, the potential mood
• The mathematical study of potentials is known as potential theory
Potential theory
In mathematics and mathematical physics, potential theory may be defined as the study of harmonic functions.- Definition and comments :The term "potential theory" was coined in 19th-century physics, when it was realized that the fundamental forces of nature could be modeled using potentials which...

; it is the study of harmonic function
Harmonic function
In mathematics, mathematical physics and the theory of stochastic processes, a harmonic function is a twice continuously differentiable function f : U → R which satisfies Laplace's equation, i.e....

s on manifold
Manifold
In mathematics , a manifold is a topological space that on a small enough scale resembles the Euclidean space of a specific dimension, called the dimension of the manifold....

s. This mathematical formulation arises from the fact that, in physics, the scalar potential is irrotational, and thus has a vanishing Laplacian — the very definition of a harmonic function.
• In physics
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

, a potential may refer to the scalar potential
Scalar potential
A scalar potential is a fundamental concept in vector analysis and physics . The scalar potential is an example of a scalar field...

or to the vector potential
Vector potential
In vector calculus, a vector potential is a vector field whose curl is a given vector field. This is analogous to a scalar potential, which is a scalar field whose negative gradient is a given vector field....

. In either case, it is a field
Field (physics)
In physics, a field is a physical quantity associated with each point of spacetime. A field can be classified as a scalar field, a vector field, a spinor field, or a tensor field according to whether the value of the field at each point is a scalar, a vector, a spinor or, more generally, a tensor,...

defined in space, from which many important physical properties may be derived.
• Leading examples are the gravitational potential and the electric potential
Electric potential
In classical electromagnetism, the electric potential at a point within a defined space is equal to the electric potential energy at that location divided by the charge there...

, from which the motion of gravitating or electrically charged bodies may be obtained.
• Specific forces have associated potentials, including the Coulomb potential, the van der Waals potential, the Lennard-Jones potential
Lennard-Jones potential
The Lennard-Jones potential is a mathematically simple model that approximates the interaction between a pair of neutral atoms or molecules. A form of the potential was first proposed in 1924 by John Lennard-Jones...

and the Yukawa potential.
• In electrochemistry
Electrochemistry
Electrochemistry is a branch of chemistry that studies chemical reactions which take place in a solution at the interface of an electron conductor and an ionic conductor , and which involve electron transfer between the electrode and the electrolyte or species in solution.If a chemical reaction is...

there are Galvani potential
Galvani potential
Galvani potential in electrochemistry, is the electric potential difference between two points in the bulk of two phases...

and Volta potential
Volta potential
Volta potential in electrochemistry, is the electric potential difference between two points in the vacuum:...

.
• In Thermodynamics
Thermodynamics
Thermodynamics is a physical science that studies the effects on material bodies, and on radiation in regions of space, of transfer of heat and of work done on or by the bodies or radiation...

potential refers to thermodynamic potential. 