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Publication Detail
Experimental Proof of a Magnetic Coulomb Phase
Spin ice materials are magnetic substances in which the spin directions map onto hydrogen positions in water ice. Recently this analogy has been elevated to an electromagnetic equivalence, indicating that the spin ice state is a Coulomb phase, with magnetic monopole excitations analogous to ice's mobile ionic defects. No Coulomb phase has yet been proved in a real magnetic material, as the key experimental signature is difficult to resolve in most systems. Here we measure the scattering of polarised neutrons from the prototypical spin ice Ho2Ti2O7. This enables us to separate different contributions to the magnetic correlations to clearly demonstrate the existence of an almost perfect Coulomb phase in this material. The temperature dependence of the scattering is consistent with the existence of deconfined magnetic monopoles connected by Dirac strings of divergent length.
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