High pressure route to generate magnetic monopole dimers in spin ice
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The gas of magnetic monopoles in spin ice is governed by one key parameter: the monopole chemical potential. A significant variation of this parameter could access hitherto undiscovered magnetic phenomena arising from monopole correlations, as observed in the analogous electrical Coulomb gas, like monopole dimerization, critical phase separation, or charge ordering. However, all known spin ices have values of chemical potential imposed by their structure and chemistry that place them deeply within the weakly correlated regime, where none of these interesting phenomena occur. Here we use high-pressure synthesis to create a new monopole host, Dy(2)Ge(2)O(7), with a radically altered chemical potential that stabilizes a large fraction of monopole dimers. The system is found to be ideally described by the classic Debye-Huckel-Bjerrum theory of charge correlations. We thus show how to tune the monopole chemical potential in spin ice and how to access the diverse collective properties of magnetic monopoles.