The Aharanov-Bohm effect, magnetic monopoles and reversal in spin-ice lattices


The proof of the Aharonov-Bohm (AB) effect has been one of the most important experiments of the last century and used as essential evidence for the theory of gauge fields. In this article, we look at its fundamental relation to the Dirac monopole and string. Despite the Dirac string being invisible to the AB effect, it can be used to study emergent quasiparticles in condensed matter settings that behave similar to the fundamental monopoles and strings between them. We utilize phase-imaging method based on the AB effect to study the ordering in a one-model system-that of frustrated spin ice-to understand the ordering processes that occur during a magnetic field reversal cycle. The reversal is linked to the propagation of monopole defects linked by flux channels, reminiscent of Dirac strings. Monopole interactions govern the defect densities within the lattice. Furthermore, we exploit these interactions to propose a new ordering method in which high degrees of ground-state ordering can be achieved in a frustrated system. © 2013 The Author. Published by Oxford University Press [on behalf of The Japanese Society of Microscopy]. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Journal of Electron Microscopy