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**Potential Energy of a System of two Charged Particles**

Figure shows two + ve charges q_{1} and q_{2} separated by a distance r. The electrostatic interaction energy of this system can be expressed as work done in bringing charge q2 from infinity to the given separation from q_{1}.

It can be calculated as

[ – ve sign shows that x is decreasing]

If the two charges are of opposite signs, then potential energy will be negative as

**Potential Energy for a System of Charged Particles**

When more than two charged particles are there in a system, the interaction energy can be given as the sum of interaction energies of all the different possible pairs of particles. For example if a system of three particles having charges q_{1}, q_{2} and q_{3} is given as shown in figure.

The total interaction energy of this system can be given as

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