Inverse Faraday effect

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The inverse Faraday effect is the effect opposite to the Faraday effect. A static magnetization \vec{M}(0) is induced by an external oscillating electrical field with the frequency \omega, which can be achieved with a high intensity laser pulse for example. The induced magnetization is proportional to the vector product of \vec{E} and \vec{E}^*:


From this equation we see that the circularly polarized light with the frequency \omega should induce a magnetization along the wave vector \vec{k}. Because \vec{E} is in the vector product, left- and right-handed polarization waves should induce magnetization of opposite signs.

The induced magnetization is comparable to the saturated magnetization of the media.


  • R. Hertel, Microscopic theory of the inverse Faraday effect, (2005)
  • A. V. Kimel, A. Kirilyuk, P. A. Usachev, R. V. Pisarev, A. M. Balbashov and Th. Rasing, Ultrafast non-thermal control of magnetization by instantaneous photomagnetic pulses, Nature 435, 655-657 (2005)