Emergent Coulombic Criticality and Kibble-Zurek Scaling in a Topological Magnet

Claudio Castelnovo (Cambridge)

When a classical system is driven through a continuous phase transition, its nonequilibrium response is universal and exhibits Kibble-Zurek scaling. We explore this dynamical scaling in the context of a three-dimensional topological magnet with fractionalized excitations, namely, the liquid-gas transition of the emergent mobile magnetic monopoles in dipolar spin ice. Using field-mixing and finite-size scaling techniques, we place the critical point of the liquid-gas line in the three-dimensional Ising universality class. We then demonstrate Kibble-Zurek scaling for sweeps of the magnetic field through the critical point. Unusually slow microscopic time scales in spin ice offer a unique opportunity to detect this universal nonequilibrium physics in current experimental setups.