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Paramagnetism refers to the tendency of the atomic magnetic dipoles, due to quantum-mechanical spin , in a material that is otherwise non-magnetic to align with an external magnetic field. This alignment of the atomic dipoles with the magnetic field tends to strengthen it, and is described by a relative magnetic permeability greater than unity (or, equivalently, a small positive magnetic susceptibility).

In pure paramagnetism, the field acts on each atomic dipole independently and there are no interactions between individual atomic dipoles. Such paramagnetic behaviour can also be observed in ferromagnetic materials that are above their Curie temperature.

See also: diamagnetism, ferromagnetism.

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