Leighton Group Collaborative Nanomagnetism Research Published in Science

In collaboration with Yale University and Los Alamos National Lab, graduate student Justin Ramberger and CEMS faculty member Chris Leighton recently published a landmark result in nanomagnetism in the journal Science. Their work deals with arrays of nanomagnets known as artificial spin ice, which are engineered to be an ideal playground for the exploration of frustrated magnetism. By design, artificial spin ice nanomagnet arrays are unable to achieve a unique ground state and thus harbor all manner of exotic statistical mechanics.

This recent work discovered that the vertices between nanomagnets in certain frustrated lattices are connected by strings, and that those strings undergo a remarkable crossover with increasing temperature. At low temperatures, the string fluctuations are simple in nature, but above the crossover temperature they fluctuate between topologically distinct states, through a process dubbed "topological surgery".