Liquid Crystalline Half-Skyrmions and Their Optical Properties

Jun ichi Fukuda, Andriy Nych, Uliana Ognysta, Slobodan Žumer, Igor Muševič

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Liquid crystals have intrigued physicists as a platform that facilitates direct visualization of topological concepts. Here, the theoretical and experimental studies demonstrating that a thin film of a chiral liquid crystal forms topological entities known as half-Skyrmions, swirl-like orientational order that spans the hemisphere of the order parameter space (Formula presented.), are reviewed. They appear in the form of a hexagonal lattice or in an isolated manner, accompanied by topological line defects to satisfy topological constraints. Under an optical microscope, half-Skyrmions appear as dark spots, and their hexagonal lattice yields a Kossel diagram comprising a hexagonal arrangement of circular arcs. These experimental observations are corroborated by numerical calculations of the orientational order based on the Landau-de Gennes theory with an orientational order parameter of a second-rank tensor, and construction of its optical images and Kossel diagrams by directly solving Maxwell equations for light wave. A thin film of a chiral liquid crystal thus provides an interesting system for the investigation of topological concepts, and spontaneous formation of a half-Skyrmion lattice whose periodicity is of the order of the wavelength of visible light has a potential for photonics applications as well as poses a challenging problem on optics.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnalen der Physik
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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