Nature of the electromagnetic force between classical magnetic dipoles

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The Lorentz force law of classical electrodynamics states that the force F exerted by the magnetic induction B on a particle of charge q moving with velocity V is given by F = qV × B. Since this force is orthogonal to the direction of motion, the magnetic field is said to be incapable of performing mechanical work. Yet there is no denying that a permanent magnet can readily perform mechanical work by pushing/pulling on another permanent magnet - or by attracting pieces of magnetizable material such as scrap iron or iron filings. We explain this apparent contradiction by examining the magnetic Lorentz force acting on an Amperian current loop, which is the model for a magnetic dipole. We then extend the discussion by analyzing the Einstein-Laub model of magnetic dipoles in the presence of external magnetic fields.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSpintronics X
EditorsHenri Jaffres, Manijeh Razeghi, Henri-Jean Drouhin, Jean-Eric Wegrowe
ISBN (Electronic)9781510611719
StatePublished - 2017
EventSpintronics X Symposium - San Diego, United States
Duration: Aug 6 2017Aug 10 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


OtherSpintronics X Symposium
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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