Anisotropic work function of elemental crystals

Publication Type

Journal Article

Date Published



The work function is a fundamental electronic property of a solid that varies with the facets of a crystalline surface. It is a crucial parameter in spectroscopy as well as materials design, especially for technologies such as thermionic electron guns and Schottky barriers. In this work, we present the largest database of calculated work functions for elemental crystals to date. This database contains the anisotropic work functions of more than 100 polymorphs of about 72 elements and up to a maximum Miller index of two and three for non-cubic and cubic crystals, respectively. The database has been rigorously validated against previous experimental and computational data where available. We also propose a weighted work function based on the Wulff shape that can be compared to measurements from polycrystalline specimens, and show that this weighted work function can be modeled empirically using simple atomic parameters. Furthermore, for the first time, we were able to analyze simple bond breaking rules for metallic systems beyond a maximum Miller index of one, allowing for a more generalized investigation of work function anisotropy.


Surface Science



Year of Publication


Short Title

Surface Science

Refereed Designation



48 - 55