Moving Monopoles Caught on Camera - researchers make visible the movement of monopoles in an assembly of nanomagnets

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Hans-Benjamin Braun from University College Dublin und PSI researcher Laura Heyderman discuss the theoretical description of the Monopoles und Dirac Strings. (Source: PSI/M. Fischer)
For decades, researchers have been searching for magnetic monopoles; isolated magnetic charges, which can move around freely in the same way as electrical charges – since magnetic poles normally only occur in pairs. Now a team of researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI in Switzerland and University College Dublin have managed to create monpoles in the form of quasiparticles in an assembly of nanoscale magnets and to observe how they move using a microscope at the Swiss Light Source (SLS) to make the magnetic structures visible. As with the elementary monopoles, which were first predicted by the british physicist Paul Dirac in 1931, each monopole is connected by a string to a monopole of opposite charge. The two monopoles can nevertheless move independently of each other. These results are not only of scientific interest, but could also provide a basis for the development of future electronic devices. These results will be published online in Nature Physics on 17 October.

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