Relativistic dynamics of point magnetic moment

Johann Rafelski, Martin Formanek, Andrew Steinmetz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The covariant motion of a classical point particle with magnetic moment in the presence of (external) electromagnetic fields is revisited. We are interested in understanding extensions to the Lorentz force involving point particle magnetic moment (Stern–Gerlach force) and how the spin precession dynamics is modified for consistency. We introduce spin as a classical particle property inherent to Poincaré symmetry of space-time. We propose a covariant formulation of the magnetic force based on a ‘magnetic’ 4-potential and show how the point particle magnetic moment relates to the Amperian (current loop) and Gilbertian (magnetic monopole) descriptions. We show that covariant spin precession lacks a unique form and discuss the connection to g- 2 anomaly. We consider the variational action principle and find that a consistent extension of the Lorentz force to include magnetic spin force is not straightforward. We look at non-covariant particle dynamics, and present a short introduction to the dynamics of (neutral) particles hit by a laser pulse of arbitrary shape.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6
JournalEuropean Physical Journal C
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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