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Question:
Can a magnet bend the path of a laser?



Replies:
The short answer is no. A magnet does not bend laser light the way a lens would.

However, if you are a more advanced student, the answer is yes -- slightly. Any object that has mass will curve space-time slightly, resulting in slight bending of a laser beam passing by the magnet. But that is not due to the magnetic field -- any object that has the same mass would cause the same bending, and the bending would still be so small that it would be very, very difficult to observe.

Even more advanced, there is a phenomenon called magnetic photon scattering, in which magnetic solids scatter photons... here the magnetic field contributes to how the matter interacts with the photons. This is well outside my area of expertise, though.

Burr Zimmerman



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