# Magnetic vector potential

The **magnetic vector potential \((\vec{A})\)** is a vector field that serves as the potential for the magnetic field. The curl of the magnetic vector potential is the magnetic field.

\[\vec{B} = \nabla \times \vec{A}\]

The magnetic vector potential is preferred when working with the Lagrangian in classical mechanics and quantum mechanics.

## Calculating magnetic vector potential

The magnetic vector potential contributed by a length \(d\vec{s}\) with current \(I\) running through it is

\[d\vec{A} = \frac{\mu_0 I}{4\pi r} d\vec{s}.\]

What is the magnetic vector potential a distance \(R\) from a long straight current element?

Assume the wire is placed on the z-axis. Hence the distance from a differential element \(d\vec{z}\) to a point in space is

\[r = \sqrt{ R^2 + z^2}.\]

Hence,

\[d\vec{A} = \frac{\mu_0 I}{4 \pi} \frac{dz}{\sqrt{ R^2 + z^2} } \hat{z}.\]

Now it is necessary to integrate over the length of the rod. Since the rod is arbitrarily said to be on the z-axis, it can be said, for simplicity, to extend from \(z=0\) to \(z=L.\) This simply requires multiplying by 2. Also, use the substitution \(z = R \tan(\theta).\)

\[ \begin{align} \vec{A} &= 2 \int_0^L \frac{\mu_0 I}{4 \pi} \frac{dz}{\sqrt{ R^2 + z^2} } \hat{z} \\ &= \frac{\mu_0 I}{2 \pi} \hat{z} \int_0^\phi \sec(\theta) d\theta \\ &= \frac{\mu_0 I}{2 \pi} \ln \bigg( \frac{\sqrt{L^2 + R^2} + L }{R} \bigg) \hat{z} \end{align} \]

## Magnetic field

The magnetic field is the curl of the vector potential.

\[\vec{B} = \nabla \times \vec{A}\]

Find the magnetic field in a region with magnetic vector potential \(\vec{A} = \sin(\theta)\hat{r} - r\hat{\theta}.\)

Since \(\vec{A}\) is in spherical coordinates, use the spherical definition of the curl.

\[\begin{align} \vec{B} = \frac{1}{r\sin\theta} \left( \frac{\partial}{\partial \theta} \left(A_\varphi\sin\theta \right) - \frac{\partial A_\theta}{\partial \varphi} \right) &\hat{\mathbf r} \\ {}+ \frac{1}{r} \left( \frac{1}{\sin\theta} \frac{\partial A_r}{\partial \varphi} - \frac{\partial}{\partial r} \left( r A_\varphi \right) \right) &\hat{\boldsymbol \theta} \\ {}+ \frac{1}{r} \left( \frac{\partial}{\partial r} \left( r A_{\theta} \right) - \frac{\partial A_r}{\partial \theta} \right) &\hat{\boldsymbol \varphi} \end{align}\]

The only part that will survive for the given \(\vec{A}\) is

\[ \begin{align} \vec{B} &= \frac{1}{r} \big( \frac{\partial}{\partial r} (r A_\theta) - \frac{\partial A_r}{\partial \theta} \big) \hat{\varphi} \\ &= \frac{1}{r} \big( 2r - \cos(\theta) \big) \\ &= 2 - \frac{\cos(\theta)}{r} \end{align} \]

## Electric field

The partial derivative of the magnetic vector potential contributes partially to the induced electric field according to faraday's law.

\[\vec{E} = - \frac{\partial \vec{A} }{ \partial t} \]

Recall Faraday's law:

\[\nabla \times \vec{E} = - \frac{\partial \vec{B} }{\partial t}\]

\[\nabla \times \vec{E} = - \frac{\partial \big( \nabla \times \vec{A} \big) }{\partial t}\]

\[\nabla \times \vec{E} = - \nabla \times \frac{ \partial \vec{A} }{\partial t}\]

\[\rightarrow \vec{E} = - \frac{ \partial \vec{A} }{\partial t}\]

**Cite as:**Magnetic vector potential.

*Brilliant.org*. Retrieved from https://brilliant.org/wiki/magnetic-vector-potential/