Spontaneous formation and dynamics of half-skyrmions in a chiral liquid-crystal film

Andriy Nych, Jun Ichi Fukuda, Uliana Ognysta, Slobodan Zumer, Igor Muševic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Skyrmions are coreless vortex-like excitations emerging in diverse condensed-matter systems, and real-time observation of their dynamics is still challenging. Here we report the first direct optical observation of the spontaneous formation of half-skyrmions. In a thin film of a chiral liquid crystal, depending on experimental conditions including film thickness, they form a hexagonal lattice whose lattice constant is a few hundred nanometres, or appear as isolated entities with topological defects compensating their charge. These half-skyrmions exhibit intriguing dynamical behaviour driven by thermal fluctuations. Numerical calculations of real-space images successfully corroborate the experimental observations despite the challenge because of the characteristic scale of the structures close to the optical resolution limit. A thin film of a chiral liquid crystal thus offers an intriguing platform that facilitates a direct investigation of the dynamics of topological excitations such as half-skyrmions and their manipulation with optical techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1215-1220
Number of pages6
JournalNature Physics
Volume13
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2017

Fingerprint

liquid crystals
thin films
excitation
manipulators
emerging
film thickness
platforms
vortices
defects

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this

Spontaneous formation and dynamics of half-skyrmions in a chiral liquid-crystal film. / Nych, Andriy; Fukuda, Jun Ichi; Ognysta, Uliana; Zumer, Slobodan; Muševic, Igor.

In: Nature Physics, Vol. 13, No. 12, 01.12.2017, p. 1215-1220.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Nych, Andriy ; Fukuda, Jun Ichi ; Ognysta, Uliana ; Zumer, Slobodan ; Muševic, Igor. / Spontaneous formation and dynamics of half-skyrmions in a chiral liquid-crystal film. In: Nature Physics. 2017 ; Vol. 13, No. 12. pp. 1215-1220.
@article{cddcd213f6924b19b4e8949d786ecd58,
title = "Spontaneous formation and dynamics of half-skyrmions in a chiral liquid-crystal film",
abstract = "Skyrmions are coreless vortex-like excitations emerging in diverse condensed-matter systems, and real-time observation of their dynamics is still challenging. Here we report the first direct optical observation of the spontaneous formation of half-skyrmions. In a thin film of a chiral liquid crystal, depending on experimental conditions including film thickness, they form a hexagonal lattice whose lattice constant is a few hundred nanometres, or appear as isolated entities with topological defects compensating their charge. These half-skyrmions exhibit intriguing dynamical behaviour driven by thermal fluctuations. Numerical calculations of real-space images successfully corroborate the experimental observations despite the challenge because of the characteristic scale of the structures close to the optical resolution limit. A thin film of a chiral liquid crystal thus offers an intriguing platform that facilitates a direct investigation of the dynamics of topological excitations such as half-skyrmions and their manipulation with optical techniques.",
author = "Andriy Nych and Fukuda, {Jun Ichi} and Uliana Ognysta and Slobodan Zumer and Igor Muševic",
year = "2017",
month = "12",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1038/nphys4245",
language = "English",
volume = "13",
pages = "1215--1220",
journal = "Nature Physics",
issn = "1745-2473",
publisher = "Nature Publishing Group",
number = "12",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Spontaneous formation and dynamics of half-skyrmions in a chiral liquid-crystal film

AU - Nych, Andriy

AU - Fukuda, Jun Ichi

AU - Ognysta, Uliana

AU - Zumer, Slobodan

AU - Muševic, Igor

PY - 2017/12/1

Y1 - 2017/12/1

N2 - Skyrmions are coreless vortex-like excitations emerging in diverse condensed-matter systems, and real-time observation of their dynamics is still challenging. Here we report the first direct optical observation of the spontaneous formation of half-skyrmions. In a thin film of a chiral liquid crystal, depending on experimental conditions including film thickness, they form a hexagonal lattice whose lattice constant is a few hundred nanometres, or appear as isolated entities with topological defects compensating their charge. These half-skyrmions exhibit intriguing dynamical behaviour driven by thermal fluctuations. Numerical calculations of real-space images successfully corroborate the experimental observations despite the challenge because of the characteristic scale of the structures close to the optical resolution limit. A thin film of a chiral liquid crystal thus offers an intriguing platform that facilitates a direct investigation of the dynamics of topological excitations such as half-skyrmions and their manipulation with optical techniques.

AB - Skyrmions are coreless vortex-like excitations emerging in diverse condensed-matter systems, and real-time observation of their dynamics is still challenging. Here we report the first direct optical observation of the spontaneous formation of half-skyrmions. In a thin film of a chiral liquid crystal, depending on experimental conditions including film thickness, they form a hexagonal lattice whose lattice constant is a few hundred nanometres, or appear as isolated entities with topological defects compensating their charge. These half-skyrmions exhibit intriguing dynamical behaviour driven by thermal fluctuations. Numerical calculations of real-space images successfully corroborate the experimental observations despite the challenge because of the characteristic scale of the structures close to the optical resolution limit. A thin film of a chiral liquid crystal thus offers an intriguing platform that facilitates a direct investigation of the dynamics of topological excitations such as half-skyrmions and their manipulation with optical techniques.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85036610473&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85036610473&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1038/nphys4245

DO - 10.1038/nphys4245

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85036610473

VL - 13

SP - 1215

EP - 1220

JO - Nature Physics

JF - Nature Physics

SN - 1745-2473

IS - 12

ER -