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Thread: Can Stern-Gerlach spin alignment be seen as a result of EM radiation of precessing magnetic dipole?

  1. #1 Can Stern-Gerlach spin alignment be seen as a result of EM radiation of precessing magnetic dipole? 
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    Stern-Gerlach experiment is often seen as idealization of measurement. Using strong magnetic field, it makes magnetic dipoles (of e.g. atoms) align in parallel or anti-parallel way. Additionally, gradient of magnetic field bends trajectories depending on this choice.

    Magnetic dipoles in magnetic field undergo e.g. Larmor precession due to τ=μB torque, unless μB=0 what means parallel or anti-parallel alignment.

    Precession means magnetic dipole becomes kind of antenna, should radiate this additional kinetic energy. Thanks to duality between electric and magnetic field, we can use formula for precessing electric dipole, e.g. from this article:



    Using which I get power like 10^−3 W, suggesting radiation of atomic scale energies (∼10^−18 J) in e.g. femtoseconds (to μB=0 parallel or anti-parallel).

    So can we see spin alignment in Stern-Gerlach as a result of EM radiation of precessing magnetic dipole?

    Beside photons, can we interpret other spin measurement experiments this way?


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    I was pointed recent very nice article "Phenomenological theory of the Stern-Gerlach experimen" by Sergey A. Rashkovskiy with very detailed calculation of the alignment time getting ~10^-10s for Stern-Gerlach with atoms: https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/202210.0478/v1

    Instead of radiation, he directly uses formula for magnetic dipole in external magnetic field:





    My very approximated evaluation from radiation of abundant energy suggested a few orders of magnitude fasted alignment - bringing very interesting question if they are equivalent, how does energy balance looks above (?)

    Anyway, this is another confirmation that classical magnetic dipoles in external magnetic field have tendency to align in parallel or anti-parallel way.
    This "classical measurement" is deterministic and time-reversible: if recreating reversed EM, in theory one could reverse the process ...

    What is nonintuive here is that such EM radiation carrying energy difference here seems different than in "optical photon", might be delocalized (?).



    The big question is the minimal size to be able to apply this "classical measurement" - minimal size of such magnet: a million atoms? Thousand atoms? Single atoms? Electron?
    Experimentally in Stern-Gerlach they observe the same conclusion, such alignment is also well known for electrons (e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokolo...3Ternov_effect ), for which they observe both Larmor precession, but also much more complex acrobatics in EM field: spin echo ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electr...etic_resonance )

    So where is the classical-quantum boundary here?


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