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Magnetic monopoles in spin ice

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Electrically charged particles, such as the electron, are ubiquitous. By contrast, no elementary particles with a net magnetic charge have ever been observed, despite intensive and prolonged searches. We pursue an alternative strategy, namely that of realizing them not as elementary but rather as emergent particles, i.e., as manifestations of the correlations present in a strongly interacting many-body system. Here we show that magnetic monopoles do emerge in a class of exotic magnets known collectively as spin ice: the dipole moment of the underlying electronic degrees of freedom fractionalises into monopoles in a process that we term Dirac string condensation.

This talk is part of the Theory of Condensed Matter series.

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