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Experimental signature of the attractive Coulomb force between positive and negative magnetic monopoles in spin ice

Paulsen, C., Giblin, S. R., Lhotel, E., Prabhakaran, D., Balakrishnan, G., Matsuhira, K. and Bramwell, S. T. 2016. Experimental signature of the attractive Coulomb force between positive and negative magnetic monopoles in spin ice. Nature Physics 12 (7) , pp. 661-666. 10.1038/nphys3704

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Abstract

A non-Ohmic current that grows exponentially with the square root of applied electric field is well known from thermionic field emission (the Schottky effect)1, electrolytes (the second Wien effect)2 and semiconductors (the Poole–Frenkel effect)3. It is a universal signature of the attractive Coulomb force between positive and negative electrical charges, which is revealed as the charges are driven in opposite directions by the force of an applied electric field. Here we apply thermal quenches4 to spin ice5,6,7,8,9,10,11 to prepare metastable populations of bound pairs of positive and negative emergent magnetic monopoles12,13,14,15,16 at millikelvin temperatures. We find that the application of a magnetic field results in a universal exponential-root field growth of magnetic current, thus confirming the microscopic Coulomb force between the magnetic monopole quasiparticles and establishing a magnetic analogue of the Poole–Frenkel effect. At temperatures above 300 mK, gradual restoration of kinetic monopole equilibria causes the non-Ohmic current to smoothly evolve into the high-field Wien effect2 for magnetic monopoles, as confirmed by comparison to a recent and rigorous theory of the Wien effect in spin ice17,18. Our results extend the universality of the exponential-root field form into magnetism and illustrate the power of emergent particle kinetics to describe far-from-equilibrium response in complex systems.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Subjects: Q Science > QC Physics
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
ISSN: 1745-2473
Date of Acceptance: 22 February 2016
Last Modified: 23 Apr 2020 06:59
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/89183

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