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Practical uses for monopoles.

  1. Sep 15, 2011 #1
    I'm not a professional in any scientific field just an avid consumer of popular science writing. I ran into a mention of magnetic monopoles awhile back and have been trying to dig up the answer to a few questions. Thus far I have failed so I decided to ask here.

    OK I understand magnetic monopoles are still in the 'Could/should exist but we haven't found them yet.' category. I also understand that if they are discovered they will confirm certain ideas of some larger theories.

    What I'm wondering first is there any idea what sort of matter could be a monopole. Would they be limited to subatomic particles or could there be elements or compounds that are made up of monopoles

    Second if monopoles are discovered and they can be created/harvested in "useful" quantities, what practical uses could we find for them?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 15, 2011 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    No, they are in the "we have no evidence for any of them, no good reason for them to be there, and would be very surprised if we found them" category.
     
  4. Sep 16, 2011 #3
    Well, maybe. There is evidence of Dirac strings in condensed matter, that indirectly implies (magnetic) monopole fields.
     
  5. Sep 16, 2011 #4

    Vanadium 50

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    No, it doesn't. Not in the slightest. The fact that you get behavior that has quasiparticles that share properties with fundmental monopoles without fundamental monopoles does not imply that there are fundamental monopoles.
     
  6. Sep 16, 2011 #5
    I don't know what your definition of a "fundemental monopole" is. However, the interesting requirement of this experiment is that background space cannot be the vacuum. The same is true of quark fields that cannot be separated from other quarks. This observation blurs the line of distinction unless we are willing to say that quark fields are not fundemental.
     
  7. Sep 17, 2011 #6

    ZapperZ

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    I'm not sure what your explanation has anything to do with what Vanadium has said.

    If you are referring to the apparent discovery of "magnetic monopole" in the spin-ice system, then you need to look at it again! It is not THE monopole as what one would expect in a Standard Model-type GUT-type particle. It is analogous to a monopole in the sense that the flaw in the magnetic moment tetrahedral arrangement mimics a monopole.

    Zz.
     
  8. Sep 19, 2011 #7
    Ok, so in your mind, monopoles are only real if they also exist in the background space of the vacuum.
     
  9. Sep 19, 2011 #8

    ZapperZ

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    What is with this "real" stuff? Where did I make such a claim?

    This "monople" is "real", as real as quasiparticles! But it is NOT THE monopole that is within most GUT-type description! Read the paper!

    Zz.
     
  10. Sep 19, 2011 #9
    OK, I get it, already. Spin ice indicators via measurements of alleged Dirac strings are not really monopoles because they are not GUT monopoles.

    Provide an *accessable* link to this paper and we'll hash it out.
     
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