I've searched the internet and two famous QM books (Sakurai and Messiah) for Lenz's Law, but haven't found anything. So my question is what the quantum mechanical explanation to Lenz's law is? Can anyone give some references?


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    $\begingroup$ Lenz's law is purely classical. It's simply a description of the sign of one of the terms in Maxwell's equations. Maxwell's equations are the classical theory of electromagnetism. $\endgroup$
    – user4552
    Mar 31, 2013 at 19:12
  • $\begingroup$ So essentially you're asking for a quantum description of (one of) Maxwell's equations? If so, are you familiar with en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_electrodynamics? $\endgroup$ Mar 31, 2013 at 23:55
  • $\begingroup$ Maxwell's equations, Lenz's law and all, come straight from the formulation of U(1) gauge theory, which is the requirement for the consistent description of a quantum mechanical massless spin-1 particle. There are more complicated versions of the same idea (Yang-Mills theory), but electromagnetism is the simplest. This might be the germ of an answer you would be satisfied with? $\endgroup$
    – Michael
    Apr 1, 2013 at 4:23

1 Answer 1


J.D. Jackson (Sec. 6.6) does an excellent yet brief treatment of the derivation of the macroscopic Maxwell's equations from a microscopic picture if that is what you are looking for.


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