Publications by Shilei Zhang

Direct observation of twisted surface Skyrmions in bulk crystals

Physical Review Letters American Physical Society 120 (2018) 227202

S Zhang, G van der Laan, WW Wang, A Haghighirad, T Hesjedal

Magnetic skyrmions in noncentrosymmetric helimagnets with Dn symmetry are Bloch-type magnetization swirls with a helicity angle of ±90∘. At the surface of helimagnetic thin films below a critical thickness, a twisted skyrmion state with arbitrary helicity angle has been proposed, however, its direct experimental observation has remained elusive. Here, we show that circularly polarized resonant elastic x-ray scattering is able to unambiguously measure the helicity angle of surface skyrmions, providing direct experimental evidence that a twisted skyrmion surface state also exists in bulk systems. The exact surface helicity angles of twisted skyrmions for both left- and right-handed chiral bulk Cu2OSeO3, in the single as well as in the multidomain skyrmion lattice state, are determined, revealing their detailed internal structure. Our findings suggest that a skyrmion surface reconstruction is a universal phenomenon, stemming from the breaking of translational symmetry at the interface.

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