## Stability of strange star crusts and strangelets

We construct strangelets, taking into account electrostatic effects, including Debye screening, and arbitrary surface tension {sigma} of the interface between vacuum and quark matter. We find that there is a critical surface tension {sigma}{sub crit} below which large strangelets are unstable to fragmentation and below which quark star surfaces will fragment into a crystalline crust made of charged strangelets immersed in an electron gas. We derive a model-independent relationship between {sigma}{sub crit} and two parameters that characterize any quark matter equation of state. For reasonable model equations of state, we find {sigma}{sub crit} typically of order a few MeV/fm{sup 2}.more »