Researchers at Aalto University (Finland) and Amherst College (US) have created, photographed, and modelled synthetic magnetic monopoles.
“These observations lay the foundation for the underlying structure of the natural magnetic monopole, the detection of which would be a revolutionary event comparable to the discovery of the electron,” said Aalto University. “In the future, we want to get even a more complete correspondence with the natural magnetic monopole.”
Aalto did the theoretical work and Amherst covered the experiments.
The idea of a magnetic monopole is old – just like an electron making an electric field, it would be a monopole making only a ‘north’ field, or only making a ‘south’ field.
But every magnetic thing found so far has both north and south ends.
Some 80 years ago Paul Dirac proposed a quantum-mechanical structure that allowed for the existence of magnetic monopoles.
“Dirac’s original framework has now been experimentally realized for the first time,” said Aalto University.
“The creation of a synthetic magnetic monopole should provide us with unprecedented insight into aspects of the natural monopole,” said Professor David Hall from Amherst College. “It’s not every day that you get to poke and prod the analogue of an elusive fundamental particle under highly controlled conditions in the laboratory.”
“A synthetic magnetic field is an artificial field that leads to particle dynamics equivalent to those of an electric charge in a corresponding natural magnetic field,” said Aalto University in a monopole backgrounder .
Dirac’s monopole exists at the end of a quantum vortex.
“Electrons are not the only physical systems that can exhibit terminating vortices. Thus a Dirac monopole can also appear in other systems, such as the Bose-Einstein condensate,” continued Aalto. “Rather than being related to the natural magnetic field, this monopole can be associated with a synthetic magnetic field. Importantly, the structure of the monopole is identical to that of a Dirac magnetic monopole. This is why the Dirac monopole observed in the synthetic magnetic field is closer to a natural magnetic monopole than any earlier observation.”
Results have been published in Nature paper ‘Observation of Dirac monopoles in a synthetic magnetic field’.
And there is a magnetic monopole YouTube video.