Observation of room-temperature polar skyrmions

S. Das, Y. L. Tang, Z. Hong, M. A.P. Gonçalves, M. R. McCarter, C. Klewe, K. X. Nguyen, F. Gómez-Ortiz, P. Shafer, E. Arenholz, V. A. Stoica, S. L. Hsu, B. Wang, C. Ophus, J. F. Liu, C. T. Nelson, S. Saremi, B. Prasad, A. B. Mei, D. G. SchlomJ. Íñiguez, P. García-Fernández, D. A. Muller, L. Q. Chen, J. Junquera, L. W. Martin, R. Ramesh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

430 Scopus citations


Complex topological configurations are fertile ground for exploring emergent phenomena and exotic phases in condensed-matter physics. For example, the recent discovery of polarization vortices and their associated complex-phase coexistence and response under applied electric fields in superlattices of (PbTiO3)n/(SrTiO3)n suggests the presence of a complex, multi-dimensional system capable of interesting physical responses, such as chirality, negative capacitance and large piezo-electric responses1–3. Here, by varying epitaxial constraints, we discover room-temperature polar-skyrmion bubbles in a lead titanate layer confined by strontium titanate layers, which are imaged by atomic-resolution scanning transmission electron microscopy. Phase-field modelling and second-principles calculations reveal that the polar-skyrmion bubbles have a skyrmion number of +1, and resonant soft-X-ray diffraction experiments show circular dichroism, confirming chirality. Such nanometre-scale polar-skyrmion bubbles are the electric analogues of magnetic skyrmions, and could contribute to the advancement of ferroelectrics towards functionalities incorporating emergent chirality and electrically controllable negative capacitance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)368-372
Number of pages5
Issue number7752
StatePublished - Apr 18 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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