DISCUSSION The majority of individuals are familiar with magnets′ broad properties, but they are less familiar with magnetism′s source. The magnetic field and what is known as a dipole are crucial to the classical idea of magnetism. The word ″magnetic field″ simply refers to a volume of space that has an energy change within it. This energy shift is detectable and quantifiable. A magnetic pole is the spot where a magnetic field may be observed exiting or entering a substance. Magnetic poles have never been detected in isolation but always occur in pairs, hence the name dipole. Therefore, a dipole is an object that has a magnetic pole on one end and a second, equal but opposite, magnetic pole on the other. Magnetism encompasses all phenomena relating to the magnetic field and its effects on other entities. Magnetism is part of electromagnetism, which is one of the fundamental interactions of the universe. Although a magnetic field is an inseparable component of the electromagnetic field, it can be treated as independent in some situations. Magnetism involves the interplay of four basic entities: electric currents, intrinsic magnetic dipole moments, magnetic fields, and electric fields. An electric current consists of electrically charged particles that are moving. An intrinsic magnetic dipole moment is an innate property of certain fundamental particles. Collections of electric currents and particles with intrinsic magnetic moments are known as magnets. Fig. 1 Iron filings between and around bar magnets sketch out the magnetic field lines emanating from the objects’ opposite poles (N ＝ North, S ＝ South). (Credit: Alchemy/Alamy) Magnetic moments A magnetic moment can be defined as any object that produces a magnetic field. A magnetic moment is defined as a specific configuration of north and south magnetic poles. The type and strength of the magnetic field produced by an object is determined by its magnetic moment. Magnetic monopoles A magnetic monopole is a single, isolated, north magnetic pole or a single, isolated, south magnetic pole. There is presently no evidence that magnetic monopoles exist. The question of their existence is one of the great unsolved problems in physics. Magnetic dipoles A magnetic dipole is made up of a north magnetic pole and a south magnetic pole that are inextricably linked. A magnetic dipole moment can develop from a simple loop of electric current, such as in an atom or a coiled wire, or it can be an intrinsic characteristic of a particle, such as an electron. A magnetic dipole moment works in the same way as a tiny bar magnet. An atomic electron has an orbital dipole moment that derives from its circulating motion in the atom, in addition to its intrinsic dipole moment. The combination of the electron′s inherent dipole moment and its orbital dipole moment is its total dipole moment. Magnetic quadrupoles and other multipoles Higher-order magnetic moments must be collections of magnetic dipoles since there are no magnetic monopoles. This obviates the existence of magnetic tripoles. Two antiparallel magnetic dipoles make create a magnetic quadrupole. (It′s worth noting that two parallel magnetic dipoles operate as a single dipole.) A magnetic sextupole is made up of three magnetic dipoles, and so on. Magnets A magnet is a macroscopic object that creates a magnetic field and therefore has a magnetic moment. Although most magnets are dipole magnets, higher-order magnets do exist. A magnet contains a collection of electric currents, such as the free currents in an electromagnet or the bound currents in a permanent magnet. Magnets also contain intrinsic dipole moments that can be treated mathematically as bound currents. The four types of magnets are permanent magnets, induced magnets, electromagnets, and induced electromagnets. Magnetic fields A magnetic field is a vector field that may interact with things and extends over space. The strength of the magnetic field at a given location is determined by the magnitude of the magnetic field vector at that site. The magnetic field vector′s directionality determines the direction in which a magnetic compass would point at that place. The magnetic field can be represented graphically using a magnetic field line diagram. In such a diagram, magnetic field line arrows trace from north poles to south poles outside magnets and from south poles to north poles inside magnets. The arrows do so in such a way that the magnetic field lines always form closed loops. Although the magnetic field is an inseparable component of the electromagnetic field, the magnetic field can be treated as independent when it is static or changing slowly. Effect of electric currents Magnetic fields are always produced by electric currents. Currents flow freely via a conductor in electromagnets and induced electromagnets. The currents in permanent magnets
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