Orbital magnetic moments of phonons

Dominik M. Juraschek*, Nicola A. Spaldin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In ionic materials, circularly polarized phonons carry orbital magnetic moments that arise from circular motions of the ions, and which interact with other magnetic moments or fields. Here, we calculate the orbital magnetic moments of phonons in 35 different materials using density functional theory, and we identify the factors that lead to, and materials that show, large responses. We compute the resulting macroscopic orbital magnetic moments that can be induced by the excitation of coherent phonons using mid-infrared laser pulses, and we evaluate the magnitudes of the phonon Zeeman effect in a strong magnetic field. Finally, we apply our formalism to chiral phonons, in which the motions of the ions are intrinsically circular. The zoology presented here may serve as a guide to identifying materials for phonon and spin-phonon driven phenomena.

Original languageEnglish
Article number064405
JournalPhysical Review Materials
Issue number6
StatePublished - 6 Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes


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