Time-resolved X-ray scattering is utilized to demonstrate an ultrafast 300 ps topological phase transition to a skyrmionic phase. This transition is enabled by the formation of a transient topological fluctuation state.Topological states of matter exhibit fascinating physics combined with an intrinsic stability. A key challenge is the fast creation of topological phases, which requires massive reorientation of charge or spin degrees of freedom. Here we report the picosecond emergence of an extended topological phase that comprises many magnetic skyrmions. The nucleation of this phase, followed in real time via single-shot soft X-ray scattering after infrared laser excitation, is mediated by a transient topological fluctuation state. This state is enabled by the presence of a time-reversal symmetry-breaking perpendicular magnetic field and exists for less than 300 ps. Atomistic simulations indicate that the fluctuation state largely reduces the topological energy barrier and thereby enables the observed rapid and homogeneous nucleation of the skyrmion phase. These observations provide fundamental insights into the nature of topological phase transitions, and suggest a path towards ultrafast topological switching in a wide variety of materials through intermediate fluctuating states.

Observation of fluctuation-mediated picosecond nucleation of a topological phase

Porro, Matteo;
2021

Abstract

Time-resolved X-ray scattering is utilized to demonstrate an ultrafast 300 ps topological phase transition to a skyrmionic phase. This transition is enabled by the formation of a transient topological fluctuation state.Topological states of matter exhibit fascinating physics combined with an intrinsic stability. A key challenge is the fast creation of topological phases, which requires massive reorientation of charge or spin degrees of freedom. Here we report the picosecond emergence of an extended topological phase that comprises many magnetic skyrmions. The nucleation of this phase, followed in real time via single-shot soft X-ray scattering after infrared laser excitation, is mediated by a transient topological fluctuation state. This state is enabled by the presence of a time-reversal symmetry-breaking perpendicular magnetic field and exists for less than 300 ps. Atomistic simulations indicate that the fluctuation state largely reduces the topological energy barrier and thereby enables the observed rapid and homogeneous nucleation of the skyrmion phase. These observations provide fundamental insights into the nature of topological phase transitions, and suggest a path towards ultrafast topological switching in a wide variety of materials through intermediate fluctuating states.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/5008360
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