Buckingham (unit)

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The Buckingham (symbol: B) is a CGS unit of electric quadrupole, named in honour of the chemical physicist A. David Buckingham who was the first to measure a molecular quadrupole moment.[1] It is defined as 1×10−26 statcoulomb-centimetre2. This is equivalent to 1 Debye-Ångström, where 1 Debye = 1×10−18 statcoulomb-centimetre is the cgs unit of molecular dipole moment and 1 Ångström = 1×10−8 cm.

One Buckingham corresponds to the quadrupole moment resulting from two opposing dipole moments but an equal magnitude of 1 Debye which are separated by a distance of 1 Angstrom, a typical bond length. This is analogous to the Debye unit for the dipole moment of two opposing charges of 1×10−10 statcoulomb separated by 1 Angstrom, and the name Buckingham for the unit was in fact suggested by Peter Debye in 1963 in honour of Buckingham.[2][3]


  1. ^ Buckingham, A. D.; Disch, R. L. (1963). "The Quadrupole Moment of the Carbon Dioxide Molecule". Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. 273 (1353): 275. Bibcode:1963RSPSA.273..275B. doi:10.1098/rspa.1963.0088. 
  2. ^ Chemical and Engineering News, 1963, 41 (16), pp 40–43
  3. ^ D.C. Clary and B.J. Orr (eds.) Optical, electric and magnetic properties of molecules. A review of the work of A.D. Buckingham (Elsevier 1997), p.8