- Spontaneous magnetization
Spontaneous magnetization is the term used to describe the appearance of an ordered spin state (
magnetization) at zero applied magnetic field in a ferromagneticor ferrimagneticmaterial below a critical point called the Curie temperatureor TC. At temperatures above TC, the material is paramagneticand its magnetic behavior is dominated by spin waves or magnons, which are bosoncollective excitations with energies in the meV range. The magnetization that occurs below TC is a famous example of the "spontaneous" breaking of a global symmetry, a phenomenon that is described by Goldstone's theorem. The term "symmetry breaking" refers to the choice of a magnetization direction by the spins, which have spherical symmetry above TC, but a preferred axis (the magnetization direction) below TC.
To first order, the temperature dependence of spontaneous magnetization is given by Bloch's Law. The decrease in spontaneous magnetization at higher temperatures is caused by the increasing excitation of spin waves. In a particle description, the spin waves correspond to magnons, which are the massless
Goldstone bosons corresponding to the broken symmetry.
* S. Chikazumi and S.H. Charap, Physics of Magnetism, ASIN B0007DODNA.
* N.W. Ashcroft and N.D. Mermin, Solid State Physics, ISBN 0-03-083993-9.
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