Berkeley Labs made a special crystal structure called a superlattice from alternating layers of lead titanate (an electrically polar material, whereby one end is positively charged and the opposite end is negatively charged) and strontium titanate (an insulator, or a material that doesn’t conduct electric current). They took STEM (scanning transmission electron microscopy) measurements of the lead titanate/strontium titanate superlattice and found bubble-like formations had cropped up all across the device.
The bubbles were polar skyrmions – or textures made up of opposite electric charges known as dipoles. Researchers had always assumed that skyrmions would only appear in magnetic materials, where special interactions between magnetic spins of charged electrons stabilize the twisting chiral patterns of skyrmions. So when the Berkeley Lab-led team of researchers discovered skyrmions in an electric material, they were astounded.
Now the researchers have made a single electric skyrmion and confirmed its chirality, they plan to make an array of dozens of electric skyrmions – each one with a diameter of just 8 nm (for comparison, the Ebola virus is about 50 nm wide) – with the same handedness.
SOURCES- Berkeley Labs
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com