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Diamagnetic vs Paramagnetic

Diamagnetic vs ParamagneticMagnetic materials come in various types, including

  1. Diamagnetic
  2. Paramagnetic
  3. Ferromagnetic

Each behaves differently when exposed to magnetic fields.

Diamagnetic materials possess a unique property – they repel magnetic fields.

On the other hand, paramagnetic materials exhibit a weak attraction towards magnetic fields.


Understanding the distinctions between these two main types of magnetic materials is crucial for various applications. By comprehending how diamagnetic and   paramagnetic substances interact with magnetic fields, we can harness their properties for practical use.

Methods for Determining Paramagnetic or Diamagnetic Nature:

To determine whether a material is paramagnetic or diamagnetic, scientists use various methods to measure its magnetic properties. These methods help identify the presence of unpaired electrons and the alignment of electron spins.

Measuring Magnetization

One method involves measuring the magnetization of a material. By applying an external magnetic field to the substance and observing its response, scientists can determine its magnetic nature.

Diamagnetism: No Unpaired Electrons

A substance is considered diamagnetic if it contains no unpaired electrons.

Basically, all the electrons in the material are paired up in their atomic orbitals. This makes their magnetic moments cancel out, so they only have a weak reaction to a magnetic field.

Observing Electron Spin Alignment

Paramagnetism can be detected by observing the alignment of electron spins within a material.

If there are unpaired electrons present, they will align themselves with an applied magnetic field due to their inherent magnetic moments. This alignment leads to attraction towards the external field.

In contrast to diamagnetism, paramagnetic materials exhibit weak attraction when subjected to a magnetic field due to these aligned spins.

It’s important to figure out if a substance is paramagnetic or diamagnetic so we can understand how it acts in things like electronics and materials science. Scientists use these techniques to learn more about different materials.

 Paramagnetism vs Diamagnetism and Ferromagnetism

Comparison and Distinction: Paramagnetism, Diamagnetism, and Ferromagnetism





Definition  The Materials weakly attracted to an external field Materials weakly repelled by an external field  The Materials  that  are strongly attracted to an external field
Magnetic Moment Unpaired electrons No unpaired electrons Domains of aligned magnetic moments
Origin Thermal agitation Induced current in response to an external field Intrinsic magnetic properties
Temperature Decreases with increasing temperature Independent of temperature Curie temperature
Examples Oxygen, Aluminum, Platinum Water, Bismuth, Copper Iron, Nickel, Cobalt


It happens in all materials but is often not noticed. It’s a weak form of magnetism that goes against an outside magnetic field.

This happens because the electrons in the material move a little when there’s a magnetic field, making a second magnetic field that goes against the first one.


It happens when atoms or molecules have unpaired electrons. When these electrons are near a magnet, they line up with it and make the material magnetic. Unlike diamagnetic materials, paramagnetic things are attracted to magnets.


It is when atoms in a material line up and act like small magnets. This happens in materials like iron or nickel. They become magnetized even without an outside magnet..

To distinguish between these three types of magnetism:

  • Diamagnetic materials are repelled by magnets.
  • Paramagnetic materials are weakly attracted to magnets.
  • Ferromagnetic materials can be strongly attracted to magnets.

Langevin Diamagnetism in Metals

Langevin diamagnetism is a phenomenon that helps us understand how metals behave when exposed to high temperatures. It specifically focuses on how the movement of metal atoms, caused by thermal energy, affects their response to an external magnetic field.

The relationship between temperature and magnetization is quantified by the Langevin function.

Diamagnetism is a cool property that some materials have, like copper and gold.

Unlike paramagnetic materials that get attracted to magnets, diamagnetic materials get pushed away. This happens because they create a magnetic field in the opposite direction of the magnet.

In metals, diamagnetism plays a significant role at high temperatures when thermal motion becomes more pronounced. As metal atoms vibrate and move around, they generate tiny electric currents known as eddy currents.

These eddy currents produce secondary magnetic fields that oppose the applied magnetic field.

The strength of diamagnetism depends on factors such as temperature and the specific metal being considered.

At higher temperatures, thermal motion intensifies, leading to stronger diamagnetic effects. Transition metals like copper and gold exhibit notable diamagnetic behavior due to their electron configurations.

Knowing how metals react to magnetic fields at different temperatures helps scientists create better materials for specific purposes or improve existing ones. This is useful in fields like material science and engineering.

Diamagnetic Electrons in Paired or Unpaired Orbitals

Diamagnetism is a property exhibited by certain substances that arises from the behavior of their electrons. In diamagnetic substances, all electrons are paired within their respective orbitals. This means that each electron has a partner with an opposite spin orientation.

The pairing of electrons creates opposing magnetic moments, which cancel each other out. As a result, diamagnetic materials have weak magnetic properties and are repelled by external magnetic fields.

The reason why diamagnetic substances are not very affected by magnets is because they don’t have any unpaired electrons. When all the electrons are paired up, there is no magnetic force created.

This makes diamagnetic materials less responsive to magnets than paramagnetic or ferromagnetic materials.

To understand this concept further, let’s take a closer look at electron configurations and subshells within an atom.

Electrons occupy different energy levels called orbitals, which are further divided into subshells (such as s, p, d, f). Each subshell can accommodate a specific number of electrons.

In diamagnetic elements or compounds, all the available orbitals are filled with paired electrons according to the

Aufbau principle and Pauli exclusion principle

The Aufbau principle states that electrons fill lower-energy orbitals before higher-energy ones, Pauli exclusion principle states that each orbital can accommodate two electrons with opposite spins.

For example:

  • Oxygen (O) has 8 electrons in its electron configuration: 1s²2s²2p⁴.
  • All six valence electrons in oxygen are paired within the 2p subshell.
  • These paired electrons create opposing magnetic moments that make oxygen diamagnetic.

Paramagnetic Atoms with Unpaired Electrons and Nonzero Net Spin:

Atoms with unpaired electrons possess nonzero net spin moments, resulting in a phenomenon known as paramagnetism.

This property causes these atoms to align themselves with an external magnetic field. The strength of paramagnetism depends on the number of unpaired electrons present within the atom.

Some atoms have unpaired electrons that make them want to align with a magnetic field. This happens because the unpaired electrons have their own magnetic moments. When a magnetic field is around, the unpaired electrons move and align with the field.

Atoms with more unpaired electrons are more magnetic.

Elements like carbon and oxygen have unpaired electrons, so they are paramagnetic. But elements that are diamagnetic have all their electrons paired up and don’t show any attraction to a magnetic field.

In bulk materials, where numerous atoms come together, paramagnetism can be observed when there is an overall imbalance of electron spins across multiple atoms.

However, it is important to note that paramagnetism is generally weaker compared to ferromagnetism or ferrimagnetism.

To summarize:

  • Paramagnetic atoms possess unpaired electrons and exhibit nonzero net spin moments.
  • These atoms align themselves with an external magnetic field due to their tendency for parallel orientation.
  • The strength of paramagnetism increases with an increase in the number of unpaired electrons.

Diamagnetic Atoms with Zero Net Spin and Paired Electrons:

Atoms with paired electrons have zero net spin moments, which means that their individual magnetic moments cancel each other out. This cancellation of magnetic moments results in diamagnetic behavior. Diamagnetic atoms are repelled by external magnetic fields.

Atoms with Paired Electrons have Zero Net Spin Moments

When an atom has all its electrons paired up in orbitals, the individual magnetic moments of each electron cancel each other out. This leads to a total net spin moment of zero for the atom.

In simpler terms, it’s like having equal and opposite forces that cancel each other out, resulting in no overall force or movement.

The Cancellation of Magnetic Moments Results in Diamagnetic Behavior:

The absence of a net spin moment makes these atoms diamagnetic. They do not possess any unpaired electrons or residual magnetism. As a result, diamagnetic atoms are not attracted to magnets but rather repelled by them.

It’s like they’re saying “no thanks” to the magnetic field.

Diamagnetic Atoms are Repelled by External Magnetic Fields

When a diamagnetic material is exposed to an external magnetic field, the individual atomic currents induced within the material generate tiny opposing magnetic fields. These induced currents create loops of current that produce their own small magnetic fields which oppose the applied field.


Understanding the Differences in Magnetic Properties

Congratulations! You have now gained a comprehensive understanding of the differences between paramagnetism and diamagnetism.

By exploring various methods for determining the nature of materials, comparing different types of magnetism, and delving into the intricacies of electron behavior, you have equipped yourself with valuable knowledge in this fascinating field.

Now that you are familiar with these concepts,

why not you newfound knowledge to real-world applications?

Dive deeper into the subject by conducting experiments or engaging in further research. The possibilities are endless!


What are some examples of paramagnetic materials?

Paramagnetic materials include substances like oxygen gas (O2), aluminum (Al), and platinum (Pt). These materials possess unpaired electrons that align their spins parallel to an external magnetic field.

Can all elements exhibit diamagnetic properties?

Yes! All elements can exhibit diamagnetism to some degree. Even though it is a weak form of magnetism, every substance has at least a small tendency to be repelled by a magnetic field.

Are there any practical applications for diamagnetic materials?

Absolutely! Diamagnetic materials find application in areas such as levitation technology, where superconducting magnets generate opposing magnetic fields to suspend objects without physical contact. They also play a role in MRI machines by helping create detailed images of internal body structures.

How does temperature affect paramagnetism and diamagnetism?

For most substances, increasing temperature reduces their magnetic properties. Paramagnetic materials become less responsive to an external magnetic field as temperature rises. In contrast, diamagnetic substances experience weaker repulsion when heated.

Is it possible for a material to exhibit both paramagnetic and diamagnetic behaviors?

Yes! Some compounds can display both types of magnetism depending on factors such as temperature or applied magnetic field strength. This phenomenon is known as mixed magnetism and is observed in certain transition metal complexes.

How does magnetism affect the behavior of living organisms?

Magnetoreception is a fascinating phenomenon observed in various species that allows them to sense and navigate using Earth’s magnetic field. Some birds, fish, and even bacteria possess specialized structures that enable them to detect changes in magnetic fields, aiding their orientation and migration patterns.



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