Infinite geometric frustration in a cubic dipole cluster
The geometric arrangement of interacting (magnetic) dipoles is a question of fundamental importance in physics, chemistry, and engineering. Motivated by recent progress concerning the self-assembly of magnetic structures, the equilibrium orientation of eight interacting dipoles in a cubic cluster is investigated in detail. Instead of discrete equilibria we find a type of ground state consisting of infinitely many orientations. This continuum of energetically degenerate states represents a yet unknown form of magnetic frustration. The corresponding dipole rotations in the flat potential valley of this Goldstone mode enable the construction of frictionless magnetic couplings. Using computer-assisted algebraic geometry methods, we moreover completely enumerate all equilibrium configurations. The seemingly simple cubic system allows for exactly 9536 unstable discrete equilibria falling into 183 distinct energy families.
Record created on 2015-05-29, modified on 2016-08-09