Structural Chirality of Polar Skyrmions Probed by Resonant Elastic X-Ray Scattering

Margaret R. McCarter, Kook Tae Kim, Vladimir A. Stoica, Sujit Das, Christoph Klewe, Elizabeth P. Donoway, David M. Burn, Padraic Shafer, Fanny Rodolakis, Mauro A.P. Gonçalves, Fernando Gómez-Ortiz, Jorge Íñiguez, Pablo García-Fernández, Javier Junquera, Stephen W. Lovesey, Gerrit Van Der Laan, Se Young Park, John W. Freeland, Lane W. Martin, Dong Ryeol LeeRamamoorthy Ramesh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


An escalating challenge in condensed-matter research is the characterization of emergent order-parameter nanostructures such as ferroelectric and ferromagnetic skyrmions. Their small length scales coupled with complex, three-dimensional polarization or spin structures makes them demanding to trace out fully. Resonant elastic x-ray scattering (REXS) has emerged as a technique to study chirality in spin textures such as skyrmions and domain walls. It has, however, been used to a considerably lesser extent to study analogous features in ferroelectrics. Here, we present a framework for modeling REXS from an arbitrary arrangement of charge quadrupole moments, which can be applied to nanostructures in materials such as ferroelectrics. With this, we demonstrate how extended reciprocal space scans using REXS with circularly polarized x rays can probe the three-dimensional structure and chirality of polar skyrmions. Measurements, bolstered by quantitative scattering calculations, show that polar skyrmions of mixed chirality coexist, and that REXS allows valuation of relative fractions of right- and left-handed skyrmions. Our quantitative analysis of the structure and chirality of polar skyrmions highlights the capability of REXS for establishing complex topological structures toward future application exploits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number247601
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 9 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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