Prethermal nematic order and staircase heating in a driven frustrated Ising magnet with dipolar interactions

A paper recently published in Physical Review B presents various emergent prethermal phases of matter in a periodically-driven frustrated system. Frustration arises in the presence of competing interactions leading to a (near) degeneracy of a vast number of states. The study of frustrated systems has been one of the central themes in condensed matter physics for decades. However, the effect of frustration on nonequilibrium systems is far from clear. In this recent paper, the authors focus on the paradigmatic two-dimensional Ising magnet with competing short-range ferromagnetic and long-range dipolar interactions and theoretically unveil a rich nonequilibrium phase diagram including novel prethermal phases with stripe and nematic orders. The competition between these two results in a very unusual ‘staircase’ heating process, consisting of two subsequent prethermal regimes. The authors propose that their predictions could be verified in magnetic thin films, especially in the insulators with perpendicular magnetic anisotropy which are widely studied for spintronics applications.

Authors: Hui-Ke Jin, Andrea Pizzi, and Johannes Knolle