Monopole–antimonopole: Interaction, scattering and creation

Ayush Saurabh, Tanmay Vachaspati

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The interaction of a magnetic monopole–antimonopole pair depends on their separation as well as on a second ‘twist’ degree of freedom. This novel interaction leads to a non-trivial bound state solution known as a sphaleron and to scattering in which the monopole–antimonopoles bounce off each other and do not annihilate. The twist degree of freedom also plays a role in numerical experiments in which gauge waves collide and create monopole–antimonopole pairs. Similar gauge wavepacket scatterings in the Abelian–Higgs model lead to the production of string loops that may be relevant to superconductors. Ongoing numerical experiments to study the production of electroweak sphalerons that result in changes in the Chern–Simons number, and hence baryon number, are also described but have not yet met with success. This article is part of a discussion meeting issue ‘Topological avatars of new physics’.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20190143
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number2161
StatePublished - Dec 30 2019


  • Magnetic monopole
  • Sphaleron
  • Topological solitons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mathematics(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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