Monopole current offers way to control magnets

In work published in Physical Review Letters, scientists from RIKEN in Japan have discovered interesting new magnetic properties of a type of materials known as "quantum spin ice." These materials demonstrate interesting properties as they behave as "frustrated magnets"—systems that can settle into various magnetic states because of their special geometry. One important property of these materials is that they have virtual monopoles—particles that are either north or south but not like typical magnets, which invariably have both a north and south pole confined together.