Photonics Dictionary


A magnon is a quasiparticle representing a quantized spin wave in a magnetic material. In other words, it is a collective excitation of the spins of electrons in a magnetic solid, analogous to the way a phonon represents vibrational energy in a crystal lattice. Magnons are considered elementary excitations in the study of magnetism and are important for understanding the behavior of magnetic materials.

Key points about magnons include:

Spin waves: Magnons can be visualized as quantized spin waves propagating through a magnetic material. The elementary magnetic moments of electrons align and precess coherently, leading to a wave-like disturbance in the spin configuration.

Quantization: The energy of a magnon is quantized, meaning it can only take on certain discrete values. The quantization arises from the discrete nature of angular momentum in quantum mechanics.

Excitations: Magnons can be excited by various means, such as thermal energy or external magnetic fields. The study of magnons provides insights into the magnetic properties of materials, including their susceptibility to temperature changes and responses to external stimuli.

Applications: Understanding magnons is crucial for the development of spintronics, a field that explores the use of electron spin for information processing and storage. Magnons play a role in phenomena like magnon-drag thermoelectric effects and magnon-based devices.

The term "magnon" is derived from "magnetic excitation." Researchers use magnon concepts to describe and analyze the behavior of magnetic systems, helping to explain phenomena like magnetic ordering, magnetic phase transitions, and the magnetic properties of materials.

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