What is Electric dipole: Definition and 166 Discussions

In electromagnetism, there are two kinds of dipoles:

An electric dipole deals with the separation of the positive and negative charges found in any electromagnetic system. A simple example of this system is a pair of electric charges of equal magnitude but opposite sign separated by some typically small distance. (A permanent electric dipole is called an electret.)
A magnetic dipole is the closed circulation of an electric current system. A simple example is a single loop of wire with constant current through it. A bar magnet is an example of a magnet with a permanent magnetic dipole moment.Dipoles, whether electric or magnetic, can be characterized by their dipole moment, a vector quantity. For the simple electric dipole, the electric dipole moment points from the negative charge towards the positive charge, and has a magnitude equal to the strength of each charge times the separation between the charges. (To be precise: for the definition of the dipole moment, one should always consider the "dipole limit", where, for example, the distance of the generating charges should converge to 0 while simultaneously, the charge strength should diverge to infinity in such a way that the product remains a positive constant.)
For the magnetic (dipole) current loop, the magnetic dipole moment points through the loop (according to the right hand grip rule), with a magnitude equal to the current in the loop times the area of the loop.
Similar to magnetic current loops, the electron particle and some other fundamental particles have magnetic dipole moments, as an electron generates a magnetic field identical to that generated by a very small current loop. However, an electron's magnetic dipole moment is not due to a current loop, but to an intrinsic property of the electron. The electron may also have an electric dipole moment though such has yet to be observed (see electron electric dipole moment).

A permanent magnet, such as a bar magnet, owes its magnetism to the intrinsic magnetic dipole moment of the electron. The two ends of a bar magnet are referred to as poles—not to be confused with monopoles, see Classification below)—and may be labeled "north" and "south". In terms of the Earth's magnetic field, they are respectively "north-seeking" and "south-seeking" poles: if the magnet were freely suspended in the Earth's magnetic field, the north-seeking pole would point towards the north and the south-seeking pole would point towards the south. The dipole moment of the bar magnet points from its magnetic south to its magnetic north pole. In a magnetic compass, the north pole of a bar magnet points north. However, that means that Earth's geomagnetic north pole is the south pole (south-seeking pole) of its dipole moment and vice versa.
The only known mechanisms for the creation of magnetic dipoles are by current loops or quantum-mechanical spin since the existence of magnetic monopoles has never been experimentally demonstrated.
The term comes from the Greek δίς (dis), "twice" and πόλος (polos), "axis".

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  1. K

    A Phase difference between electric and magnetic dipole moment

    Hello! This question is in relation to parity violation (PV) measurements using the optical rotation technique (I can give more details/references about that, but most of it is not relevant for my question). Basically, in a simplified model, they have 2 levels (say of positive parity), g and...
  2. V

    Equipotential surfaces for an electric dipole

    The answer is given as (a), but I think it's not correct based on the equipotential surfaces diagram given in our book for an electric dipole as below. The red dashed lines, which are supposed to be the equipotential surfaces, are surely not representing a sphere centred at the dipole center...
  3. V

    External forces required to move an electric dipole quasi-statically

    If the dipole is to be in equilibrium at all positions as it's moved so that it's always inclined at 60° to the horizontal, then the torque due to electric field needs to be balanced by torque due to external forces ##F_{ext}## as shown in above diagrams. But such external forces will not make...
  4. Z

    MIT OCW, 8.02 Electromagnetism: Potential for an Electric Dipole

    Here is a depiction of the problem a) The potential at any point P due to a charge q is given by ##\frac{kq}{r}=\frac{kq}{\lvert \vec{r}_s-\vec{r}_P \rvert}##, where ##r## is the distance from the charge to point P, which is the length of the vector difference between ##\vec{r}_s##, the...
  5. Z

    Solving for Simple Harmonic Motion: A Picture Problem

    Here is a picture of the problem It is not clear to me how to really prove that the equation for ##\theta(t)## is simple harmonic motion, and what the period of this motion is.
  6. C

    Magnitude of external electric force on electric dipole

    For this part(b) of this problem, how is the magnitude of the total electric force zero? I thought it would be: If they asked for the total electric force, then I would have said zero because the two electric force vectors cancel. Many thanks!
  7. Salmone

    I How an induced electric dipole vibrates with EM field

    If we have an electromagnetic wave like the one in the picture and a molecule which is, in the image, the small black ball with electron cloud being the part with "minus sign" in it, does the molecule with its cloud start to oscillate, once the EM wave hits it, as an induced electric dipole...
  8. Ahmed1029

    I Laplace's equation in presence of a dipole (perfect or physical)

    Does Laplace's equation hold true for electrostatic potential at the location of a dipole? Or should poisson's equation be used?
  9. Salmone

    I Something about retarded potentials for oscillating electric dipole

    In a problem of an oscillating electric dipole, under appropriate conditions, one can find, for the potential vector calculated at the point ##\vec{r}##, the expression ##\vec{A}=\hat{k}\frac{\mu_0I_0d}{4\pi}\frac{cos(\omega(t-r/c))}{r}## where: ##\hat{k}## is the direction of the ##z-axis##...
  10. maayan_aloni

    I Exploring Oscillating Electric Fields for Dipolar Molecules

    Hi all! I was wondering, Is it possible, given a specific dipolar molecule, to create the perfect oscillating electric field so as to heat it and not, i.e. the water around it? What I'm basically asking is could there exist a specific microwave just for X and not all dipolar molecules without...
  11. V

    B Why does charge oscillate in an electric dipole antenna?

    Picture: Energy source => LR Oscillator => Transformer => Transmission line => Electric dipole antenna => traveling wave Why would the charge even oscillate in the antenna as opposed to building up in the antenna? The transmission line + antenna is not a closed circuit right?
  12. V

    Dipole placed in a uniform electric field

    My understanding is that the uniform electric field ##\vec E## cannot be the net electric field since the dipole creates its own electric field as shown in first diagram below, which must superimpose with the uniform electric field. So, yes, the uniform electric field ##\vec E## around the...
  13. raisins

    I Phase space integral in noninteracting dipole system

    Hi all, Consider a system of ##N## noninteracting, identical electric point dipoles (dipole moment ##\vec{\mu}##) subjected to an external field ##\vec{E}=E\hat{z}##. The Lagrangian for this system is...
  14. B

    I Searches for electric dipole moments (EDM) in atoms

    Hello! I read some papers about searching for induced atomic EDM. Finding such an EDM would imply a violation of the P and T-invariance (and hence CP). The way the derivation works (very roughly) is by assuming you have a PT-odd interaction in the hamiltonian (coming from a possible nuclear EDM...
  15. R

    Potential Energy of an Electric Dipole in a Uniform Field

    I have a lot of questions about this single concept. You don't have to answer the questions in the order that I ask, if it is convenient to answer them in a different order. 1. When the dipole moment ##\vec{p}## is in the same direction as the electric field (uniform) it has the least potential...
  16. H

    Electric dipole moment vs electric current dipole moment

    I have to estimate the electric dipole moment of an NV center in units of Am. I know that for a regular electric dipole moment it can be estimated using p=ed. With e=1.6*10^-19 and d=0.1 nm (interatomic distance), this however is in units Cm. I don't know how to go to Am
  17. P

    Plotting the Poynting vector of a radiating electric dipole [matlab]

    I've attached a .txt file of my script for those who want to take a look at it Here's a picture of my vector field at time t = 0 I'm very concerned about this picture because from my understanding the Poynting vector is supposed to point outwards and not loop back around, this looks nothing...
  18. Elder1994

    Find the electric dipole moment for a water molecule

    The equation that we saw in class is for a continuous charge distribution, I think that for this exercise I need to treat the system as a discrete charge distribution but I'm not sure. Also, I don't know how I can calculate the intensity of the electric field needed to move this charge.
  19. Samanko

    Potential energy of an electric dipole

    This is a problem from a textbook, and I can't solve it. I know that the equation of Potential energy of electric dipole. Since the configuration is a little bit complicated. I'm confused applying which electric fields.
  20. Snarlie

    Force & Torque on Electric Dipole in Magnetic Field

    Would this also be correct? Or is there something wrong with it? I appreciate all your responses! Snarlie
  21. T

    I Electric dipole moment of the nucleus of an atom

    Summary: Why is the electric dipole moment of the nucleus of an atom equal zero? Summary: Why is the electric dipole moment of the nucleus of an atom equal zero? I read about the hyperfine interactions that cause the altering of the energy levels of the nuclues of an atom. Under the...
  22. M

    What is the continuous electric dipole distribution?

    An electric dipole is a system of two opposite point charges when their separation goes to zero and their charge goes to infinity in a way that the product of the charge and the separation remains finite. Now how can we have a continuous electric dipole volume distribution from such a...
  23. J

    I Falling electric dipole contradicts the equivalence principle?

    Consider an electric dipole consisting of charges ##q## and ##-q##, both of mass ##m##, separated by a distance ##d##. If the dipole is given an acceleration ##a## perpendicular to its moment the total electric force on it, due to each charge acting on the other, is given approximately by...
  24. lawlieto

    I How can ΔJ = 0 for an electric dipole transition?

    Consider a multi-electron atom. (In our course we deal with alkalis mostly so that we have energy levels which are similar to the hydrogenic ones with quantum defect. I don't know if that is relevant here) Edit: l = orbital angular momentum of a single electron, L = total orbital angular...
  25. Captain Levi

    Someone help explain electric dipole situation

    Ok so she says that electric dipoles are of opposite charge but equal magnitude at 3:40. But then at 5:33 she shows 2Q with -Q, at that point the magnitude of the 2Q particle wouldn't be equal to the -Q so they wouldn't be electrical dipoles right?
  26. S

    Is Griffiths' formula for electric dipole radiation correct?

    Hello! I am reading Griffiths derivation for the electric dipole radiation (actually my question would fit for the magnetic dipole radiation too). He considers 2 charged balls connected by a wire with charge going back and forth between them. Now, when he calculates the vector potential he uses...
  27. P

    I EM Radiation of "Permanent" Molecular Electric Dipoles

    Suppose I were to subject a polar molecule to a high-frequency electric field. The polar molecule responds to the high-frequency electric field and thus it has a time-varying electric dipole moment vector. If we treated this as a classical electric dipole, it would be expected to radiate some of...
  28. L

    Electric dipole EM field using Lorentz Transformation

    Homework Statement An electric dipole instantaneously at rest at the origin in the frame K' has potentials \Phi'=\mathbf{p}\cdot\mathbf{r}'/r'^3 and \mathbf{A}'=0 (and thus only an electric field). The frame K' moves with uniform velocity \mathbf{v}=\vec{\beta }c in the frame K. Show that in...
  29. Philosophaie

    I Electric Dipole Moments: Sun, Earth, Planets, Minor Planets, Moons

    Is there a table of Electric Dipole Moments, ##\bar p##, for the Sun, Earth, Planets, Minor Planets and Moons?
  30. Philosophaie

    Electric Field and Electric Dipole Moment for a Dipole

    The Magnetic Dipole Moment for a Magnetic Field for a dipole oriented on the x-y axis is: ##\bar m = |m| \hat z## The Magnetic Field is: ##\bar B = \frac{\mhu_0}{4 * \pi * |\bar r|^5} * 3 * \bar r * (\bar m . \bar r) - \bar m * |\bar r|^2## Vector Potential is: ##\bar A = \frac{\mhu_0}{4 * \pi...
  31. AdrianMachin

    The direction of electric dipole moment of water molecule

    I was watching a video explaining how microwave ovens work when I found that there is a difference between my physics textbook and online images of the electric dipole moment of the water molecule, as well as the one shown in the video. Why do they differ?
  32. Arman777

    Electric dipole in Uniform Electric Field (3D)

    Homework Statement An electric dipole with magnitude ##p = 0.2Cm## is placed inside a uniform electric field of ##\vec{E} = 100\vec{i} + 70\vec{j} + 40\vec{k} \frac {N} {C}##. The dipole was initially pointing along the +x direction. You then start to rotate it first on xz-plane towards...
  33. T

    Field Lines of an Electric Dipole?

    It isn't difficult to find the electric field of a dipole. However, it is tricky to find the field lines. All points of a field line have to be parallel to the electric field at those points. A tangent, which is the derivative, is parallel. We can hence formulate the equation for a field line...
  34. NihalRi

    Force between electric dipoles along the dipole axis

    Homework Statement Compute the force between two identical dipoles. See Problem P63 on page 544 to set up the problem. Explain why this result makes sense by comparing it to the force between two point charges and the force between a point charge and a dipole, in terms of the relationship to...
  35. mikemartinlfs

    Four Electric Dipoles = What level of electric flux?

    Homework Statement A circle, centered on the origin, has a radius of 1 mm. At each "pole" (1,0), (0,-1), (-1,0), (0,1) is an electric dipole. The positive charge of +10 microCoulombs is inside the circle, the negative charge of -10 microCoulombs is just outside the circle. What is the...
  36. G

    I Could you provide me a selection rule?

    Hello. When I accessed to selection rule page in Wikipedia, I have a difficulty of how to use rules listed there. I'm now only concering electric dipole transition so column (E1) in the table there will be my only interests. Since I need to know whether transition is possible or not between...
  37. Narayanan KR

    What is the estimated conductivity of Earth according to the USGS?

    1. In above image an insulated metal plate has been placed inside Earth (soil), and an voltage is applied between plate and Earth groung what will be the capacitance here?? 2. one plate is the metal and the other plate is entire earth, so it is a big assymetrical Capacitor or What? all...
  38. loki4000

    Electric dipole antenna voltage

    Homework Statement Greetings. Can someone give me hint how to solve following problem: Homework Equations From my understanding, you need following formula to solve problem: and then potential can be obtained by integrating over the current distribution. But right now these foormuas really...
  39. Umrao

    Calculation of force due to electric dipole

    Homework Statement Two identical co-axial rings ,(radius R each) are kept separated by a small distance d, one of them carrying a charge +Q and the other a charge -Q. The charges are uniformly distributed over the respective rings. A point charge q is kept on the common axis of the rings, at a...
  40. R

    Method of images: electric dipole and infinite plane

    Hello, a dubt arose while doing some exercise. If I have a charge q at a distance d from the above-mentioned plane, i can find the solution to the laplace equations (thanks to the uniqueness theorems) finding a collection of image charges that satisfies the boundary conditions. These conditions...
  41. gracy

    Electric dipole moment problem

    Homework Statement find the electric dipole moment of the system shown in figure Homework Equations In the simple case of two point charges, one with charge +q and the other one with charge −q, the electric dipole moment p is: where d is the displacement vector pointing from the negative...
  42. DavideGenoa

    Field in the plane where a dipole lies

    Hello, friends! I read that, if a dipole is centred on the origin, with the ##+q>0## charge in ##a>0## and the negative ##-q<0## charge in ##-a##, the field in a point ##(x,y)## of the plane is $$\mathbf{E}=k\frac{3pxy}{(x^2+y^2)^{5/2}}\mathbf{i} +k\frac{p(2y^2-x^2)}{(x^2+y^2)^{5/2}}\mathbf{j}$$...
  43. fluidistic

    Question regarding current loops - electric dipole radiation

    Homework Statement ; attempt and equations[/B] Many times I face problems with a wire loop with some current (which may or may not depend on time, which may or not move) "flowing" in it. And I'm asked to calculate the radiation due to it. So using the multipole expansion I know that the dominant...
  44. A

    Feynman lectures electric dipole question

    For some reason, I'm having trouble with what I feel should be a relatively simple derivative to take. Feynman is differentiating the potential to find the z-component of the electric field. He has: -\frac{\partial \phi}{\partial z} = - \frac{p}{4 \pi \epsilon_0} \frac{\partial }{\partial z}...
  45. Roxy SCarlet

    Why is the dipole moment directed from negative to positive?

    Why is the dipole moment directed from negative to positive ?
  46. S

    Electric dipole moment and Electric field

    Hello everyone, I would like to ask a couple of questions which are related to electric dipole moment and electric field. First one: Let us assume that we have somehow a constant electric field. The obvious thing to say is that any material that contains a Net Charge ( moving one or not moving...
  47. S

    Potential energy of an electric dipole in electric field

    Homework Statement Show that the energy of an ideal dipole p in an electric field E is given by U = -p ⋅ E Homework Equations Work = θτ where τ is torque τ = p × E The Attempt at a Solution U = ∫(p × E) dθ' (from θ to 0, since the dipole will eventually align itself with the magnetic...
  48. blue_leaf77

    Selection rules in electric dipole appoximation

    Some literatures say that the selection rule in electric dipole approx. for angular momentum ##\Delta j = 0,-1,1## some other say ##\Delta l = -1,1##. I follow the notation used in my references, despite the difference I think since j and l are both angular momenta which fulfill angular momentum...
  49. T

    Do ionic crystals have total electric dipole moment?

    I have come up with a paradox: Ionic crystals, in which cations and anions form a lattice, seems to have total electric dipole moment! For example, consider a one dimensional example: ##+ - + - + - ... + - + -## In the above picture, a ##+## represents a cation and a ##-## represents an anion...