ground state


: the state of a physical system (as of an atomic nucleus or an atom) having the least energy of all the possible states

called also ground level

Examples of ground state in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Both the actual hardware and the simulators all showed a similar behavior, in that the energy gap between the system and its ground state decayed exponentially as a function of annealing time. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 19 Apr. 2023 Once the system reached ground state, the team created a phonon, a minuscule unit of vibrating energy. Andrew Moseman, Discover Magazine, 18 Mar. 2010 When these excited atoms eventually return to their normal ground state, the excess energy from the collision shoots off in the form of vibrant light. Allison Parshall, Scientific American, 30 Mar. 2023 When its energy is transferred to the annihilator, the sensitizer returns to its ground state without releasing light. Tracy H. Schloemer, IEEE Spectrum, 19 Sep. 2023 This change means the BEC's quantum state has jumped from its ground state to its first excited state. Charles D. Brown Ii, Scientific American, 16 May 2023 In these cases, having the spin glass find its ground state is the mathematical equivalent of finding the optimal solution to a problem. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 19 Apr. 2023 This happened despite the fact that the Bob atom always started out in its ground state. Tara C. Smith, Quanta Magazine, 23 Feb. 2023 And the process could be repeated until the geometry dictated a large set of constraints on the system's ground state. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 16 Feb. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ground state.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1926, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ground state was in 1926

Dictionary Entries Near ground state

Cite this Entry

“Ground state.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

ground state

: the energy level of a physical system (as an atom) having the least energy of all its possible states

More from Merriam-Webster on ground state

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!