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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/K028960/1
Title: Emergence and out-of-equilibrium phenomena in frustrated magnets on pyrochlore lattices
Principal Investigator: Castelnovo, Dr C
Other Investigators:
Prabhakaran, Dr D
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Royal Holloway, Univ of London
Department: Physics
Organisation: University of Cambridge
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 30 November 2013 Ends: 29 May 2017 Value (£): 368,931
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Magnetism/Magnetic Phenomena Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
26 Feb 2013 EPSRC Physical Sciences Physics - February 2013 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Emergence -- the ability of a large ensemble of interacting particles to give rise to properties and behaviours that transcend those of the microscopic constituents -- and far from equilibrium phenomena are some of the grand challenges of modern day physics.

Frustration in magnetic systems has been fertile ground for novel emergent and out of equilibrium phenomena. The term ``frustration'' indicates the inability of a system to reach its lowest energy state where all interaction terms are simultaneously minimised. The quintessential example is the triangular Ising antiferromagnet. In magnetism, frustration prevents the formation of ferro- or antiferromagnetically ordered phases at low temperature. This allows the emergence of new phases that often escape a conventional description in terms of local order parameters. Frustration is also at the core of paradigmatic non-equilibrium systems such as spin glasses.

The variety of new phenomena that emerge in frustrated magnetism, combined with the many experimental probes that have been developed for magnetic systems, continue to produce new and exciting physics both concerning thermodynamic as well as far from equilibrium behaviours. Examples include extensively degenerate ground states with emergent gauge symmetries (e.g., systems with dimer and vertex constraints), and topological order (e.g., spin liquids).

A lattice structure that has been demonstrated to be particularly conducive to frustration and novel emergent phenomena is the one that is obtained from tiling a volume with corner-sharing tetrahedra, dubbed the pyrochlore lattice. A notable example are spin ice materials, which received much attention of late thanks to the theoretical proposal and experimental discovery of magnetic monopole excitations. This is a rare experimental instance of fractionalisation in three dimensions and the first context where we can access and manipulate free magnetic charges. The existence of these emergent excitations has been demonstrated to have a direct effect on the thermodynamic properties of these systems (with the observation of unprecedented phenomena such as a liquid-gas transition in a localised magnetic system) as well as on their response, relaxation, and far from equilibrium behaviour. In 2012, this research effort was recognised internationally by the Condensed Matter Division of the Europen Science Foundation with the award of the Europhysics Prize ``\emph{to S.Bramwell, C.Castelnovo, S.Grigera, R.Moessner, S.Sondhi and A.Tennant for the prediction and experimental observation of magnetic monopoles in spin ice}''.

The overall aim of the proposal is to investigate emergent phenomena, in particular the physics of magnetic monopoles in spin ice. A central focus is the theme of non-equilibrium dynamics and equilibration. Recent experiments on these materials highlighted interesting controversies in their behaviour out of equilibrium and many of the results await theoretical understanding. The setting of the proposal is provided by frustrated magnetic systems on pyrochlore lattices, which allow a close interaction with numerous experimental studies currently undertaken on a broad range of materials, enabling us not only to provide theoretical support in interpreting results but also to shape the future experimental agenda. Specific objectives of the proposal include: developing a consistent understanding of spin ice materials in and out of equilibrium (e.g., to study spin and monopole dynamics in relation to AC susceptibility, magnetisation, and $\mu$SR measurements, and to develop new ways to detect and manipulate the monopole excitations); studying the role of impurities and chemical substitutions in spin ice and related compounds; modelling and understanding quantum effects in systems with less anisotropic spins; investigating the effects of conduction electrons in frustrated magnetic systems on the pyrochlore lattice.
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Organisation Website: http://www.cam.ac.uk