1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

How is possible that the magnetic field around electron is dipole but it's one circle

  1. Jul 14, 2007 #1
    How is possible that the magnetic field around electron is dipole but it's one circle?

    Best regards.

    p.s thanks for the help.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 14, 2007 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I'm sorry, I don't understand what you're asking. Perhaps more words would help, or maybe even a picture?
  4. Jul 14, 2007 #3


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    indeed, more words, please. "It's one circle" doesn't mean much to me. What is one circle? The electron? The electron is one circle? What does that even mean.

    An electron is not a circle, it's a point-like particle. Also, the electron possesses an intrinsic spin of magnitude [tex]\hbar/2[/tex]and this spin can be thought of in some sense as a magnetic dipole with magnitude [tex]g \mu_B /2[/tex]. Where [tex]\hbar[/tex] is the reduced Planck Constant, [tex]\mu_B[/tex] is the Bohr magneton, and [tex]g[/tex] is a pure number approximately equal to 2 (it's actually a little bigger, closer to 2.002).
  5. Aug 11, 2007 #4

    Hans de Vries

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    The magnetic field around the electron associated with its spin is indeed
    called a dipole moment. So your question is: How can a circular current
    generate a dipole field.

    The field of a rotating electric charge happens to be equal to the field of
    a magnetic dipole. (two adjacent opposite magnetic charges: two monopoles)

    This can be shown using Maxwell's laws:

    \textsf{\textbf{E}}\ = -\textsf{grad}\ V - \frac{\partial
    \textbf{A}}{\partial t},\ \qquad \ \ \textsf{\textbf{B}}\ =
    \textsf{curl}\ \textbf{A}

    Monopole field

    The electric point charge (monopole) is a delta function.

    [tex]Q\ =\ \delta(r)[/tex]

    It's potential field V is:

    [tex]V\ =\ \frac{1}{r}[/tex]

    It's electric field is is found by differentiating in x,y and z (gradient):

    \textsf{E}_x\ = \frac{x}{r^3}, \quad
    \textsf{E}_y\ = \frac{y}{r^3}, \quad
    \textsf{E}_z\ = \frac{z}{r^3}

    Dipole field

    If we differentiate a delta function we get two adjacent and opposite
    delta functions (a dipole)

    [tex]Q\ =\ \frac{\partial}{\partial z}\ \delta(r)[/tex]

    To obtain the dipole field we differentiate the monopole field in z as well:

    [tex]V\ =\
    \frac{\partial}{\partial z}\left(\frac{1}{r}\right)\ =\
    \frac{z}{r^3} [/tex]

    Which gives the electric potentials after differentiation in x, y and z:

    [tex]\textsf{E}_x\ = \frac{3z}{r^5}x, \qquad \textsf{E}_y\ =
    \ \frac{3z}{r^5}y, \qquad \textsf{E}_z\ = \ \frac{3z}{r^5}z - \frac{1}{r^3}[/tex]

    Rotating point charge field

    This current gives rise to a magnetic vector potential A. The currents
    in the x direction are given by a delta function differentiated in the y
    direction, while the current in the y direction is give by a differentiation
    in the x direction: Two orthogonal skews yield a rotation, like:

    \partial_x - \partial_y \qquad = \qquad \uparrow\downarrow\ +\ \rightleftarrows \qquad = \qquad \circlearrowright

    So we have for the electric currents Jx, Jy and Jz:

    J_x \ \ =\ -\frac{\partial}{\partial y}\ \delta(r), \qquad
    J_y \ \ =\ \frac{\partial}{\partial x}\ \delta(r), \qquad
    J_z\ =\ 0 [/tex]

    We obtain for the Vector Potential fields Ax, Ay and Az after
    differentiating 1/r in the same way:

    \qquad A_x\ =\ -
    \frac{y}{r^3}, \qquad A_y\ =\
    \frac{x}{r^3}, \qquad A_z\ =\ 0 [/tex]

    To obtain the magnetic fields B we take the curl of the vector
    potential A and we get:

    [tex]\textsf{B}_x\ = \frac{3z}{r^5}x, \qquad \textsf{B}_y\ =
    \ \frac{3z}{r^5}y, \qquad \textsf{B}_z\ = \ \frac{3z}{r^5}z - \frac{1}{r^3}[/tex]

    Which is mathematically equal to the electric dipole field.

    Regards, Hans
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2007
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook