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Concept: Magnetic monopole


The flow of magnetic charge carriers (dubbed magnetic monopoles) through frustrated spin ice lattices, governed simply by Coulombic forces, represents a new direction in electromagnetism. Artificial spin ice nanoarrays realise this effect at room temperature, where the magnetic charge is carried by domain walls. Control of domain wall path is one important element of utilizing this new medium. By imaging the transit of domain walls across different connected 2D honeycomb structures we contribute an important aspect which will enable that control to be realized. Although apparently equivalent paths are presented to a domain wall as it approaches a Y-shaped vertex from a bar parallel to the field, we observe a stark non-random path distribution, which we attribute to the chirality of the magnetic charges. These observations are supported by detailed statistical modelling and micromagnetic simulations. The identification of chiral control to magnetic charge path selectivity invites analogy with spintronics.

Concepts: Electron, Electromagnetism, Electric charge, Magnetic field, Magnet, Magnetism, Magnetic monopole, Topological defect


Head-to-head and tail-to-tail magnetic domain walls in nanowires behave as free magnetic monopoles carrying a single magnetic charge. Since adjacent walls always carry opposite charges, they attract one another. In most cases this long-range attractive interaction leads to annihilation of the two domain walls. Here, we show that, in some cases, a short-range repulsive interaction suppresses annihilation of the walls, even though the lowest energy state is without any domain walls. This repulsive interaction is a consequence of topological edge defects that have the same winding number. We show that the competition between the attractive and repulsive interactions leads to the formation of metastable bound states made up of two or more domain walls. We have created bound states formed from up to eight domain walls, corresponding to the magnetization winding up over four complete 360° rotations.

Concepts: Electric charge, Magnetic field, Magnet, Maxwell's equations, Magnetism, Magnetic flux, Domain wall, Magnetic monopole


Artificial spin-ice systems consisting of nanolithographic arrays of isolated nanomagnets are model systems for the study of frustration-induced phenomena. We have recently demonstrated that monopoles and Dirac strings can be directly observed via synchrotron-based photoemission electron microscopy, where the magnetic state of individual nanoislands can be imaged in real space. These experimental results of Dirac string formation are in excellent agreement with Monte Carlo simulations of the hysteresis of an array of dipoles situated on a kagome lattice with randomized switching fields. This formation of one-dimensional avalanches in a two-dimensional system is in sharp contrast to disordered thin films, where avalanches associated with magnetization reversal are two-dimensional. The self-organized restriction of avalanches to one dimension provides an example of dimensional reduction due to frustration. We give simple explanations for the origin of this dimensional reduction and discuss the disorder dependence of these avalanches. We conclude with the explicit demonstration of how these avalanches can be controlled via locally modified anisotropies. Such a controlled start and stop of avalanches will have potential applications in data storage and information processing.

Concepts: Magnetic field, Dimension, Space, Spacetime, Manifold, String theory, Cartesian coordinate system, Magnetic monopole


We use non-close packed colloidal lithography to prepare hexagonal magnetic antidot arrays with varying diameters at a period of 205 nm. Smaller antidots are attractive for applications as spin waveguides in magnonics. Larger antidots form a magnetically frustrated system, i.e. Kagome spin-ice, as we prove by magnetic force microscopy. The simple but effective approach successfully extends the limits of top-down lithography previously used to study spin-ice configurations and emergent magnetic monopoles towards smaller structures.

Concepts: Electron, Electromagnetism, Magnetic field, Magnet, Maxwell's equations, Magnetism, Magnetic flux, Magnetic monopole


Artificial ices enable the study of geometrical frustration by design and through direct observation. However, it has proven difficult to achieve tailored long-range ordering of their diverse configurations, limiting both fundamental and applied research directions. We designed an artificial spin structure that produces a magnetic charge ice with tunable long-range ordering of eight different configurations. We also developed a technique to precisely manipulate the local magnetic charge states and demonstrate write-read-erase multifunctionality at room temperature. This globally reconfigurable and locally writable magnetic charge ice could provide a setting for designing magnetic monopole defects, tailoring magnonics, and controlling the properties of other two-dimensional materials.

Concepts: Scientific method, Magnetic field, Magnet, Research, Magnetism, Magnetic flux, Magnetic monopole, Spin ice


The complexity embedded in condensed matter fertilizes the discovery of new states of matter, enriched by ingredients like frustration. Illustrating examples in magnetic systems are Kitaev spin liquids, skyrmions phases, or spin ices. These unconventional ground states support exotic excitations, for example the magnetic charges in spin ices, also called monopoles. Here, we propose a mechanism to inject monopoles in a spin ice at equilibrium through a staggered magnetic field. We show theoretically, and demonstrate experimentally in the Ho2Ir2O7 pyrochlore iridate, that it results in the stabilization of a monopole crystal, which exhibits magnetic fragmentation. In this new state of matter, the magnetic moment fragments into an ordered part and a persistently fluctuating one. Compared to conventional spin ices, the different nature of the excitations in this fragmented state opens the way to tunable field-induced and dynamical behaviors.Exploring unconventional magnetism facilities both fundamental understanding of materials and their real applications. Here the authors demonstrate that a magnetic monopole crystal is stabilized by a staggered magnetic field in the pyrochlore iridate Ho2Ir2O7, leading to a fragmented magnetization.

Concepts: Magnetic field, Magnet, Condensed matter physics, Paramagnetism, Magnetism, Magnetic moment, Magnetic flux, Magnetic monopole


Modern nanofabrication techniques have opened the possibility to create novel functional materials, whose properties transcend those of their constituent elements. In particular, tuning the magnetostatic interactions in geometrically frustrated arrangements of nanoelements called artificial spin ice can lead to specific collective behaviour, including emergent magnetic monopoles, charge screening and transport, as well as magnonic response. Here, we demonstrate a spin-ice-based active material in which energy is converted into unidirectional dynamics. Using X-ray photoemission electron microscopy we show that the collective rotation of the average magnetization proceeds in a unique sense during thermal relaxation. Our simulations demonstrate that this emergent chiral behaviour is driven by the topology of the magnetostatic field at the edges of the nanomagnet array, resulting in an asymmetric energy landscape. In addition, a bias field can be used to modify the sense of rotation of the average magnetization. This opens the possibility of implementing a magnetic Brownian ratchet, which may find applications in novel nanoscale devices, such as magnetic nanomotors, actuators, sensors or memory cells.

Concepts: Electron, Magnetic field, Electromagnetic radiation, Magnetic resonance imaging, Magnetism, Geometry, Magnetostatics, Magnetic monopole


Skyrmion crystals are regular arrangements of magnetic whirls that exist in a wide range of chiral magnets. Because of their topology, they cannot be created or destroyed by smooth rearrangements of the direction of the local magnetization. Using magnetic force microscopy, we tracked the destruction of the skyrmion lattice on the surface of a bulk crystal of Fe(1-x)Co(x)Si (x = 0.5). Our study revealed that skyrmions vanish by a coalescence, forming elongated structures. Numerical simulations showed that changes of topology are controlled by singular magnetic point defects. They can be viewed as quantized magnetic monopoles and antimonopoles, which provide sources and sinks of one flux quantum of emergent magnetic flux, respectively.

Concepts: Electromagnetism, Magnetic field, Magnet, Maxwell's equations, Magnetism, Magnetic moment, Magnetic flux, Magnetic monopole


The objective of this paper is to propose a novel tubular linear machine with hybrid permanent magnet arrays and multiple movers, which could be employed for either actuation or sensing technology. The hybrid magnet array produces flux distribution on both sides of windings, and thus helps to increase the signal strength in the windings. The multiple movers are important for airspace technology, because they can improve the system’s redundancy and reliability. The proposed design concept is presented, and the governing equations are obtained based on source free property and Maxwell equations. The magnetic field distribution in the linear machine is thus analytically formulated by using Bessel functions and harmonic expansion of magnetization vector. Numerical simulation is then conducted to validate the analytical solutions of the magnetic flux field. It is proved that the analytical model agrees with the numerical results well. Therefore, it can be utilized for the formulation of signal or force output subsequently, depending on its particular implementation.

Concepts: Electromagnetism, Magnetic field, Maxwell's equations, Magnetism, Magnetic moment, Magnetic flux, Faraday's law of induction, Magnetic monopole


Magnetic monopoles are hypothesised elementary particles connected by Dirac strings that behave like infinitely thin solenoids [Dirac 1931 Proc. Roy. Soc. A 133 60]. Despite decades of searches, free magnetic monopoles and their Dirac strings have eluded experimental detection, although there is substantial evidence for deconfined magnetic monopole quasiparticles in spin ice materials [Castelnovo, Moessner & Sondhi 2008 Nature 326 411]. Here we report the detection of a hierarchy of unequally-spaced magnetic excitations via high resolution inelastic neutron spectroscopic measurements on the quantum spin ice candidate Pr<sub>2</sub>Sn<sub>2</sub>O<sub>7</sub>. These excitations are well-described by a simple model of monopole pairs bound by a linear potential [Coldea et al. Science 327 177] with an effective tension of 0.7(1) K/Angstrom. The success of the linear potential model suggests that these low energy magnetic excitations are direct spectroscopic evidence for the confinement of magnetic monopole quasiparticles in the quantum spin ice candidate Pr<sub>2</sub>Sn<sub>2</sub>O<sub>7</sub>.

Concepts: Electron, Magnetic field, Spin, Quantum field theory, Standard Model, Elementary particle, Paul Dirac, Magnetic monopole