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In one part in my book they define the magnetic moment of a closed loop of current. They define it as

[tex]\overline{\mu} = I\overline{A}[/tex]

with I the current in the loop and [tex]\overline{A}[/tex] a vector of magnitude the area of the circuit and perpendicular to the current.

First I thaught it wasn't really important but then they used it again to calculate the magnetic moment of an atom. So it is important after all.

My question is: what does it represent physically? What does it change for a loop or atom to have a higher or lower magnetic moment? I have difficulties grasping the concept.

Thank you.