Magnet Monopoles Discovered?
According to a pair of papers published in Science, researchers may have discovered the existence of a magnetic monopole. According to the papers, spin ice crystals appear to exhibit tiny north magnetic points and separate south points.
The idea of a magnetic monopole has existed only as a hypothesis since Maxwell's work on magnetism in the 1860s, however inconclusive research over the intervening years has led many to posit that they do not actually exist. Since the 1930s, scientists have theorized that the discovery of monopoles could lead to a greater understanding of the quantization of electric charge.
Spin ices themselves are another thing that science couldn't prove until not too long ago (1997, to be exact). The crystals contain 'spins', magnetic moments arranged on a tetrahedral lattice. When spin ices become excited, the north and south moments appear to behave independently of one another as monopoles. With further research, these monopoles could lead to advances in electric circuit design and the creation of magnetic memory.
Posted by Jay Roberts at 09:29 PM | Permalink