Electric-magnetic duality or S-duality, extending the symmetry of Maxwell’s equations by including the symmetry between Noether electric charges and topological magnetic monopoles, is one of the most fundamental concepts of modern physics. In two-dimensional systems harboring Cooper pairs, S-duality manifests in the emergence of superinsulation, a state dual to superconductivity, which exhibits an infinite resistance at finite temperatures. The mechanism behind this infinite resistance is the linear charge confinement by a magnetic monopole plasma. This plasma constricts electric field lines connecting the charge–anti-charge pairs into electric strings, in analogy to quarks within hadrons. However, the origin of the monopole plasma remains an open question. Here, we consider a two-dimensional Josephson junction array (JJA) and reveal that the magnetic monopole plasma arises as quantum instantons, thus establishing the underlying mechanism of superinsulation as two-dimensional quantum tunneling events. We calculate the string tension and the dimension of an electric pion determining the minimal size of a system capable of hosting superinsulation. Our findings pave the way for study of fundamental S-duality in desktop experiments on JJA and superconducting films.
String Phase in an Artificial Spin Ice
Abstract One-dimensional strings of local excitations are a fascinating feature of the physical behavior of strongly correlated topological quantum matter. Here we study strings of local excitations in a classical system of interacting nanomagnets, the Santa Fe Ice geometry of artificial spin ice. We measured the moment configuration of the nanomagnets, both after annealing near the ferromagnetic Curie point and in a thermally dynamic state. While the Santa Fe Ice lattice structure is complex, we demonstrate that its disordered magnetic state is naturally described within a framework of emergent strings. We show experimentally that the string length follows a simple Boltzmann distribution with an energy scale that is associated with the system’s magnetic interactions and is consistent with theoretical predictions. The results demonstrate that string descriptions and associated topological characteristics are not unique to quantum models but can also provide a simplifying description of complex classical systems with non-trivial frustration.
- Publication Date:
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Journal Name:
- Nature Communications
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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