Field-Induced Magnetic Monopole Plasma in Artificial Spin Ice

Measured magnetic monopole noise

A key emergent description of fundamental excitations in ASIs is that of magnetic monopoles—mobile quasiparticles that carry an effective magnetic charge. Here, we demonstrate that the archetypal square ASI lattice can host, in specific regions of its magnetic phase diagram, plasmalike regimes containing a high density of mobile magnetic monopoles. These regimes result from the magnetic field-tunable tension on the Dirac strings connecting mobile monopoles. By passively “listening” to spontaneous monopole noise under conditions of strict thermal equilibrium, we reveal their intrinsic dynamics and show that monopole kinetics are most diffusive (that is, minimally correlated) in the plasma regime. These results open the door to on-demand monopole regimes having continuously field-tunable densities and dynamic properties, thereby providing a new paradigm for probing the physics of effective magnetic charges in synthetic matter.

M. Goryca, X. Zhang, J. Li, A. L. Balk, J. D. Watts, C. Leighton, C. Nisoli, P. Schiffer, and S. A. Crooker, Phys. Rev. X 11, 011042 (2021).