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      Onsager's Wien Effect on a Lattice

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          Abstract

          The Second Wien Effect describes the non-linear, non-equilibrium response of a weak electrolyte in moderate to high electric fields. Onsager's 1934 electrodiffusion theory along with various extensions has been invoked for systems and phenomena as diverse as solar cells, surfactant solutions, water splitting reactions, dielectric liquids, electrohydrodynamic flow, water and ice physics, electrical double layers, non-Ohmic conduction in semiconductors and oxide glasses, biochemical nerve response and magnetic monopoles in spin ice. In view of this technological importance and the experimental ubiquity of such phenomena, it is surprising that Onsager's Wien effect has never been studied by numerical simulation. Here we present simulations of a lattice Coulomb gas, treating the widely applicable case of a double equilibrium for free charge generation. We obtain detailed characterisation of the Wien effect and confirm the accuracy of the analytical theories as regards the field evolution of the free charge density and correlations. We also demonstrate that simulations can uncover further corrections, such as how the field-dependent conductivity may be influenced by details of microscopic dynamics. We conclude that lattice simulation offers a powerful means by which to investigate system-specific corrections to the Onsager theory, and thus constitutes a valuable tool for detailed theoretical studies of the numerous practical applications of the Second Wien Effect.

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          Magnetic Monopoles in Spin Ice

          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 realising them not as elementary but rather as emergent particles, i.e., as manifestations of the correlations present in a strongly interacting many-body system. The most prominent examples of emergent quasiparticles are the ones with fractional electric charge e/3 in quantum Hall physics. 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. This enables us to account for a mysterious phase transition observed experimentally in spin ice in a magnetic field, which is a liquid-gas transition of the magnetic monopoles. These monopoles can also be detected by other means, e.g., in an experiment modelled after the celebrated Stanford magnetic monopole search.
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            Magnetic monopoles in spin ice

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              Artificial "spin ice" in a geometrically frustrated lattice of nanoscale ferromagnetic islands

              We report an artificial geometrically frustrated magnet based on an array of lithographically fabricated single-domain ferromagnetic islands. The islands are arranged such that the dipole interactions create a two-dimensional analogue to spin ice. Images of the magnetic moments of individual elements in this correlated system allow us to study the local accommodation of frustration. We see both ice-like short-range correlations and an absence of long-range correlations, behaviour which is strikingly similar to the lowtemperature state of spin ice. These results demonstrate that artificial frustrated magnets can provide an uncharted arena in which the physics of frustration can be directly visualized.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                10.1038/nmat3729
                1305.4072

                Condensed matter

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