Potential due to an Electric Dipole

We already know that electric dipole is an arrangement which consists of two equal and opposite charges +q and -q separated by a small distance 2a.

Electric dipole moment is represented by a vector p of magnitude 2qa and this vector points in direction from -q to +q.

  • An electric dipole is a separation of positive and negative charges. The simplest example of this is a pair of electric charges of equal magnitude but opposite sign, separated by some distance. A permanent electric dipole is called an electret.
  • A magnetic dipole is a closed circulation of electric current. A simple example of this is a single loop of wire with some constant current through it.

  • Dipoles can be characterized by their dipole moment, a vector quantity. For the simple electric dipole given above, the electric dipole moment points from the negative charge towards the positive charge, and has a magnitude equal to the strength of each charge times the separation between the charges.