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Three-Body Interactions

The precise knowledge of particle interactions is of utmost importance for the understanding of structural and thermodynamic properties of condensed matter. It remains a sophisticated task, however, to obtain such information from liquids or solids where many particles with mutual interactions have to be considered at the same time. This difficulty arises because we typically conceive interactions in a pairwise fashion, e.g. as a quasi particle which is exchanged between two objects. This, however, is not completely true because the interaction between two particles can be modified by the presence of a close third or fourth particle. This leads to an additional interaction due to many body interactions (and in particular three-body effects as the leading term) which have to be explicitly considered for a correct description of any liquid or solid. This effect can be directly observed in colloidal suspensions.

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