1. Capable of doing or being, although not yet doing or being; possible, but not actual. 2. A state of tension in an electric source enabling it to do work under suitable conditions; in relation to electricity, p. is analogous to the temperature in relation to heat. [L. potentia, power, potency]
- action p. the change in membrane p. occurring in nerve, muscle, or other excitable tissue when excitation occurs.
- after-p. afterpotential.
- bioelectric p. electrical potentials occurring in living organisms.
- biotic p. a theoretical measurement of the capacity of a species to survive or to compete successfully.
- brain p. the electrical charge of the brain as compared to a point on the body; the p. may be steady (DC p.) or may fluctuate at specific frequencies when recorded against time, giving rise to the electroencephalogram.
- brainstem auditory evoked p. responses triggered by click stimuli, which are generated in the acoustic nerve and brainstem auditory pathways; recorded over the scalp.
- chemical p. (μ) a measure of how the Gibbs free energy of a phase depends on any change in the composition of that phase.
- cochlear p. SYN: cochlear microphonic.
- compound action p. the combined potentials resulting from activation of the auditory division of the eighth cranial nerve.
- demarcation p. the difference in p. recorded when one electrode is placed on intact nerve fibers or muscle fibers and the other electrode is placed on the injured ends of the same fibers; the intact portion is positive with reference to the injured portion. SYN: injury p..
- early receptor p. (ERP) a voltage arising across the eye from a charge displacement within photoreceptor pigment, in response to an intense flash of light.
- endocochlear p. the standing direct current p. in the endolymph relative to the perilymph, measuring positive 80 mV.
- evoked p. an event-related p., elicited by, and time-locked to, a stimulus. SEE ALSO: evoked response.
- excitatory junction p. (EJP) discrete partial depolarization of smooth muscle produced by stimulation of excitatory nerves; similar to small end-plate potentials. summate with repeated stimuli.
- excitatory postsynaptic p. (EPSP) the change in p. that is produced in the membrane of the next neuron when an impulse that has an excitatory influence arrives at the synapse; it is a local change in the direction of depolarization; summation of these potentials can lead to discharge of an impulse by the neuron.
- generator p. local depolarization of the membrane p. at the end of a sensory neurone in graded response to the strength of a stimulus applied to the associated receptor organ, e.g., a pacinian corpuscle; if the generator p. becomes large enough (because the stimulus is at least of threshold strength), it causes excitation at the nearest node of Ranvier and a propagated action p..
- inhibitory junction p. (IJP) hyperpolarization of smooth muscle produced by stimulation of inhibitory nerves.
- inhibitory postsynaptic p. (IPSP) the change in p. produced in the membrane of the next neuron when an impulse that has an inhibitory influence arrives at the synapse; it is a local change in the direction of hyperpolarization; the frequency of discharge of a given neuron is determined by the extent to which impulses that lead to excitatory postsynaptic potentials predominate over those that cause inhibitory postsynaptic potentials.
- injury p. SYN: demarcation p..
- membrane p. the p. inside a cell membrane, measured relative to the fluid just outside; it is negative under resting conditions and becomes positive during an action p.. SYN: transmembrane p..
- myogenic p. action p. of muscle.
- oscillatory p. the variable voltage in the positive deflection of the electroretinogram (β-wave) of the dark-adapted eye arising from amacrine cells.
- oxidation-reduction p. (E0+) the p. in volts of an inert metallic electrode measured in a system of an arbitrarily chosen ratio of [oxidant] to [reductant] and referred to the normal hydrogen electrode at absolute temperature; it is calculated from the following equation; where R is the gas constant expressed in electrical units, T the absolute temperature (Kelvin), n the number of electrons transferred, F the faraday, and E0 the normal symbol for the p. of the system at pH 0; for biologic systems, E0′ is often used (in which pH = 7). Cf.:Nernst equation. SYN: redox p..
- pacemaker p. the voltage inscribed by impulses from an artificial electronic pacemaker.
- redox p. SYN: oxidation-reduction p..
- S p. prolonged, slow, depolarizing or hyperpolarizing responses to illumination; initiated between the photoreceptor and ganglion cell layers of the retina.
- somatosensory evoked p. the computer-averaged cortical and subcortical responses to repetitive stimulation of peripheral nerve sensory fibers.
- spike p. the main wave in the action p. of a nerve; it is followed by negative and positive afterpotentials.
- summating potentials alternating current responses of the organ of Corti to acoustic stimulation.
- thermodynamic p. free energy.
- transmembrane p. SYN: membrane p..
- ventricular late p. high-frequency microvolt electrocardiogram signals at the end of the QRS complex.
- visual evoked p. voltage fluctuations that may be recorded from the occipital area of the scalp as the result of retinal stimulation by a light flashing at 14-s intervals; commonly summated and averaged by computer.
- zeta p. the degree of negative charge on the surface of a red blood cell; i.e., the p. difference between the negative charges on the red cell and the cation in the fluid portion of the blood.
- zoonotic p. the p. for infections of subhuman animals to be transmissible to humans.

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po·ten·tial pə-'ten-chəl adj existing in possibility: capable of development into actuality
po·ten·tial·ly -'tench-(ə-)lē adv
potential n
1) something that can develop or become actual
2 a) any of various functions from which the intensity or the velocity at any point in a field may be readily calculated specif ELECTRICAL POTENTIAL

* * *

po·ten·tial (po-tenґshəl) [L. potentia power] 1. existing and ready for action but not yet active. 2. the work per unit charge necessary to move a charged body in an electric field from a reference point (usually infinity) to another point, measured in volts. The difference in potential between two points is measured by the work necessary to move a unit positive charge from one to the other.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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  • Potential [1] — Potential ist eine Funktion V (x, y, z) des Ortes, d.h. der Koordinaten xyz eines Punktes P, deren partielle Differentialquotienten nach den Koordinaten die Komponenten einer gerichteten Größe (Kraft, Geschwindigkeit), die diesem Punkt P… …   Lexikon der gesamten Technik

  • potenţial — POTENŢIÁL, Ă, (I) potenţiali, e, adj., (II) potenţiale, s.n. I. adj. 1. Care are în sine toate condiţiile esenţiale pentru realizare, care există ca posibilitate, care există în mod virtual. ♢ Energie potenţială = energia pe care o poate dezvolta …   Dicționar Român

  • Potential [2] — Potential der Verrückungen. Sind ξ, η, ζ, die Verrückungen des Körperpunktes m (x, y, z) in den Richtungen x, y, z (s. Elastizitätslehre, allgemeine), und es existiert eine Funktion F der Koordinaten x, y, z, deren… …   Lexikon der gesamten Technik

  • Potential [5] — Potential , thermodynamisches, eine Funktion zweier oder mehrerer Unabhängigveränderlicher, die in der Thermodynamik eine ähnliche Rolle spielt wie das Potential der Kräfte nach dem Newtonschen Gravitationsgesetz in der reinen Mechanik (vgl.… …   Lexikon der gesamten Technik

  • Potential [3] — Potential , elastisches. Die Arbeit zur Ueberwindung der inneren Kräfte (s. Verschiebungsarbeit) beliebiger Körper für den Fall, daß die Spannungen konstant wie am Ende der betreffenden Verschiebungen wären (die virtuelle Verschiebungsarbeit),… …   Lexikon der gesamten Technik

  • Potential — Po*ten tial, a. [Cf. F. potentiel. See {Potency}.] 1. Being potent; endowed with energy adequate to a result; efficacious; influential. [Obs.] And hath in his effect a voice potential. Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. Existing in possibility, not in… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Potential — (auch Potenzial) steht für: Aktionspotential vorübergehende, charakteristische Abweichung des Membranpotentials einer lebenden Zelle von ihrem Ruhepotential Chemisches Potential thermodynamische Größe in der Chemie, gemessen in Gibbs (= J/mol)… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • potential — I adjective accessible, achievable, allowable, allowed, anticipated, attainable, concealed, conceivable, covert, doable, dormant, expected, feasible, future, imaginable, latent, likely, obtainable, performable, permissible, permitted, possible,… …   Law dictionary

  • Potential [2] — Potential (das), die Wirkungsfähigkeit oder potentielle Energie (Spannung), welche die in einem Punkte des Raumes konzentriert gedachte Masseneinheit besitzt vermöge der abstoßenden oder anziehenden Kräfte, die von andern im Raume befindlichen… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • potential — [pō ten′shəl, pəten′shəl] adj. [ME potenciall < ML potentialis < L potentia: see POTENT] 1. that has power; potent 2. that can, but has not yet, come into being; possible; latent; unrealized; undeveloped 3. Gram. expressing possibility,… …   English World dictionary

  • Potential — Po*ten tial, n. 1. Anything that may be possible; a possibility; potentially. Bacon. [1913 Webster] 2. (Math.) In the theory of gravitation, or of other forces acting in space, a function of the rectangular coordinates which determine the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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