The work function is stated as the energy required to eject an electron out.. And ionisation enthalpy is stated energy required to move an electron out of the gaseous atom. I don't understand if there is any difference.

  • $\begingroup$ So are there any differences between a gas and a solid? If so, what does that mean for the electrons? $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Sep 21 '15 at 14:52
  • $\begingroup$ Is the difference only about the state of the substances? So these two things are pretty much the same? $\endgroup$ – Nabaneet Sharma Sep 21 '15 at 15:06
  • $\begingroup$ Conceptually they are very similar. But, one is a property of the atom (electron orbitals), and the other is a property of a solid (band structure formed from interactions of all the electrons). So, the work function of graphite and diamond are different, even though they are both carbon allotropes. $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Sep 21 '15 at 15:28
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    $\begingroup$ To broaden the comment, the first ionization energy for a carbon atom is about 11.2eV, the work function for diamond is around 7.2eV (fluorine terminated), and the work function for graphite is around 4.8eV. Graphene seems to be in the 4.9-5.1eV range. Surface states matter. $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Sep 21 '15 at 15:40
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    $\begingroup$ And the bulk band structure leads to different energy levels for the solid overall than for an isolated atom. $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Sep 21 '15 at 17:55

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