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The potential energy function for the force between two atoms in a diatomic molecule is approximately given by $U(x) = \frac{a}{x^{12}} - \frac{b}{x^6}$, where $a$ and $b$ are constants and $x$ is the distance between the atoms. If the dissociation energy of the molecule is $D = [U_{(x = \infty)} - U_{at\; equilibrium}], \; D$ is


( A ) $\frac{b^2}{4a}$
( B ) $\frac{b^2}{6a}$
( C ) $\frac{b^2}{2a}$
( D ) $\frac{b^2}{12 a}$

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