Currents of monopole-like magnetic charges act much like electricity
Electricity has a new little sister: magnetricity.
A team of physicists in England has created magnetic charges — isolated north and south magnetic poles — and induced them to flow in crystals no bigger than a centimeter across. These moving magnetic charges, which behave almost exactly like electrical charges flowing through batteries and biological systems, could one day be useful in developing “magnetronic” devices — though what such devices would do is anybody’s guess.
In magnets, poles always come in pairs. No matter how many times you cut a magnet in half, down to the atoms themselves, each piece will always have a north and a south — a dipole.
But the magnetic molecules that make up a crystalline material called spin ice are arranged in triangular pyramids that prevent them from lining up comfortably with all of their poles pointing in the same direction.