Emerging Chirality in Artificial Spin Ice

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Science  30 Mar 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6076, pp. 1597-1600
DOI: 10.1126/science.1211379

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Artificial spin ice, made up of planar nanostructured arrays of simple ferromagnetic bars, is a playground for rich physics associated with the spin alignment of the bars and spin texture associated with the magnetic frustration at the bar vertices. The phase diagram is exotic, showing magnetic monopole-like defects and liquid and solid phases of spins arranged in loop states with predicted chiral order. We show that magnetotransport measurements in connected honeycomb structures yield the onset of an anomalous Hall signal at 50 kelvin. The temperature scale can be attributed to the long-range dipolar ice phase. The topological Hall signal arises because chiral loops form at the sample edges, indicating a generic route to exotic states via nanoarray edge structure.

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