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Ferromagnetism vs. Antiferromagnetism: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on January 15, 2024
Ferromagnetism refers to magnetic moments align parallel, creating strong magnetic fields. Antiferromagnetism refers to magnetic moments align antiparallel, canceling out and creating no net magnetism.

Key Differences

Ferromagnetism is characterized by the parallel alignment of magnetic moments, leading to strong magnetization. In contrast, antiferromagnetism involves the antiparallel alignment of magnetic moments, resulting in no net magnetization.
Materials exhibiting ferromagnetism, like iron, become permanent magnets. Antiferromagnetic materials, such as manganese oxide, do not retain magnetism in the absence of an external magnetic field.
Ferromagnetic materials have a high magnetic susceptibility and can be magnetized easily. Antiferromagnetic materials, however, have a lower magnetic susceptibility.
The Curie temperature in ferromagnetism denotes the point beyond which the material loses its magnetism. In antiferromagnetism, the Néel temperature marks the threshold where antiferromagnetic order is lost.
Ferromagnetism is commonly used in hard drives and speakers. Antiferromagnetism finds applications in magnetic storage media where stability against external magnetic fields is required.

Comparison Chart

Magnetic Moment Alignment


Net Magnetization


Magnetic Susceptibility


Temperature Threshold

Curie Temperature
Néel Temperature

Common Uses

Hard drives, Speakers
Magnetic storage media

Ferromagnetism and Antiferromagnetism Definitions


Characterized by the alignment of magnetic moments in parallel.
In ferromagnetism, the parallel alignment of atoms creates strong magnetic fields.


Exhibits magnetic order without net magnetization.
In antiferromagnetism, the material's internal magnetic order does not produce an external field.


Exhibits high magnetic susceptibility and magnetization.
Ferromagnetic materials like cobalt can be easily magnetized due to their high susceptibility.


Common in materials like manganese oxide and iron oxide.
Antiferromagnetic materials like iron oxide are used in various technological applications.


The phenomenon where materials can exhibit permanent magnetism.
Iron is an example of ferromagnetism, retaining its magnetic properties after being magnetized.


Loses its magnetic structure above the Néel temperature.
Heating an antiferromagnetic material above its Néel temperature disrupts its magnetic ordering.


Loses its magnetic properties above the Curie temperature.
Heating a ferromagnetic material above its Curie temperature will demagnetize it.


A magnetic phenomenon where adjacent atoms' spins align oppositely, cancelling out magnetism.
Manganese oxide is an example of antiferromagnetism, exhibiting no external magnetic field.


Occurs in metals like iron, nickel, and cobalt.
Ferromagnetism is a key property in common magnets made from iron.


Characterized by a lower magnetic susceptibility.
Due to antiferromagnetism, certain materials have a muted response to magnetic fields.


Of or characteristic of substances such as iron, nickel, or cobalt and various alloys that exhibit extremely high magnetic permeability, a characteristic saturation point, and magnetic hysteresis.


(physics) a phenomenon, similar to ferromagnetism, in which magnetic domains line up in a regular pattern, but with neighbouring electron spins pointing in opposite directions; materials showing this effect are either ferrimagnetic or diamagnetic, and become paramagnetic above the Neel temperature


(physics) The phenomenon whereby certain substances can become permanent magnets when subjected to a magnetic field.


Magnetic field creates parallel but opposing spins; varies with temperature


Phenomenon exhibited by materials like iron (nickel or cobalt) that become magnetized in a magnetic field and retain their magnetism when the field is removed


Which materials exhibit ferromagnetism?

Common ferromagnetic materials include iron, nickel, and cobalt.

What are examples of antiferromagnetic materials?

Manganese oxide and iron oxide are examples of antiferromagnetic materials.

What is ferromagnetism?

Ferromagnetism is the alignment of magnetic moments in parallel, creating a strong magnetic field.

What is the Néel temperature in antiferromagnetism?

The Néel temperature is the threshold above which antiferromagnetic materials lose their magnetic order.

What is antiferromagnetism?

Antiferromagnetism is the antiparallel alignment of magnetic moments, resulting in no net magnetism.

How do ferromagnetic materials behave in magnetic fields?

Ferromagnetic materials become strongly magnetized when placed in a magnetic field.

Do antiferromagnetic materials get magnetized?

Antiferromagnetic materials do not retain magnetism in an external magnetic field.

What is the atomic basis of antiferromagnetism?

Antiferromagnetism arises from the antiparallel alignment of adjacent atomic spins.

What is the Curie temperature in ferromagnetism?

The Curie temperature is the point at which ferromagnetic materials lose their magnetism.

Can ferromagnetism be found in everyday objects?

Yes, ferromagnetism is present in everyday items like fridge magnets and hard drives.

Is antiferromagnetism useful in magnetic sensors?

Antiferromagnetic materials are useful in applications where stable magnetic properties are required.

Is ferromagnetism temperature-dependent?

Yes, ferromagnetism is affected by temperature, especially near the Curie point.

Are all metals ferromagnetic?

No, only certain metals like iron, cobalt, and nickel exhibit ferromagnetism.

Do all insulators show antiferromagnetism?

No, antiferromagnetism is not exclusive to insulators and can be found in various materials.

Are antiferromagnetic materials used in technology?

Yes, they are used in various technologies, including magnetic storage media.

Does temperature affect antiferromagnetism?

Antiferromagnetism is influenced by temperature, particularly above the Néel temperature.

What causes ferromagnetism at the atomic level?

Ferromagnetism is caused by the parallel alignment of electron spins in atoms.

How do ferromagnetic materials respond to external magnetic fields?

They respond strongly, becoming magnetized in the presence of a magnetic field.

What is the response of antiferromagnetic materials to magnetic fields?

They show a muted response due to the cancellation of magnetic moments.

Can ferromagnetism be used in data storage?

Yes, ferromagnetism is essential in magnetic data storage like hard drives.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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