- the energy needed to separate a system into its constituents, esp. that needed to separate the nucleus of an atom into its neutrons and protons
- the energy required to remove a particle from the nucleus of an atom
- the energy required to remove an electron from its orbit in an atom or molecule
See binding energy in American Heritage Dictionary 4
- The net energy required to decompose a molecule, an atom, or a nucleus into its components.
- The net energy required to remove an atomic electron to an infinitely remote position from its orbit.