Can the spin of electrons generate currents? If not, how does it create magnetic dipole moments?


1 Answer 1


Currently our best model of the electron is that it is a point particle. Measurements give an upper bound of $10^{-22}$ meters on its radius. A point particle has no radius, and thus cannot rotate. Therefore we do not consider an electron with spin as a "spinning" electron in any classical sense. The spin and the magnetic moment of the electrons are instead considered "intrinsic" properties of the electron, similar to the charge and mass.

This is not a particularly satisfying explanation, and physicists are hard at work to achieve deeper understanding of the electron.

  • $\begingroup$ I know that spin is not related to any mechanical motion of the electrons. But if it is not, how does it give to a magnetic moment? Thanks $\endgroup$ Feb 28, 2019 at 17:09
  • $\begingroup$ does that mean that magnetic dipole due to electron spin is also a intrinsic property?? $\endgroup$ Feb 28, 2019 at 17:25
  • $\begingroup$ well, if yes, that's amazing!! $\endgroup$ Feb 28, 2019 at 17:25
  • $\begingroup$ Indeed, it seems the electron holds a plethora of paradoxes. It cannot have a non-zero radius, but at the same time it cannot be a point. It has angular momentum, but does not rotate. It has magnetic moment, but there is no current flowing (yes, the magnetic moment is intrinsic!). But that is what we have observed so far. $\endgroup$ Mar 1, 2019 at 12:03
  • $\begingroup$ Could you pay attention to this question of mine?: physics.stackexchange.com/questions/235080/… $\endgroup$ Mar 9, 2019 at 18:53

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