Ice Rule and Emergent Frustration in Particle Ice and Beyond

30 Sep 2019  ·  Ortiz-Ambriz Antonio, Nisoli Cristiano, Reichhardt Charles, Reichhardt Cynthia J. O., Tierno Pietro ·

Geometric frustration and the ice rule are two concepts that are intimately connected and widespread across condensed matter. The first refers to the inability of a system to satisfy competing interactions in the presence of spatial constraints... The second, in its more general sense, represents a prescription for the minimization of the topological charges in a constrained system. Both can lead to manifolds of high susceptibility and non-trivial, constrained disorder where exotic behaviors can appear and even be designed deliberately. In this Colloquium, we describe the emergence of geometric frustration and the ice rule in soft condensed matter. This Review excludes the extensive developments of mathematical physics within the field of geometric frustration, but rather focuses on systems of confined micro- or mesoscopic particles that emerge as a novel paradigm exhibiting spin degrees of freedom. In such systems, geometric frustration can be engineered artificially by controlling the spatial topology and geometry of the lattice, the position of the individual particle units, or their relative filling fraction. These capabilities enable the creation of novel and exotic phases of matter, and also potentially lead towards technological applications related to memory and logic devices that are based on the motion of topological defects. We review the rapid progress in theory and experiments and discuss the intimate physical connections with other frustrated systems at different length scales. read more

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Soft Condensed Matter