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The quantum nature of skyrmions and half-skyrmions in Cu2OSeO3
journal contributionposted on 07.08.2018 by Oleg Janson, Ioannis Rousochatzakis, Alexander A. Tsirlin, M. Belesi, Andrei A. Leonov, Ulrich K. Roessler, Jeroen van den Brink, Helge Rosner
Any type of content formally published in an academic journal, usually following a peer-review process.
The Skyrme-particle, the skyrmion, was introduced over half a century ago in the context of dense nuclear matter. But with skyrmions being mathematical objects -special types of topological solitons -they can emerge in much broader contexts. Recently skyrmions were observed in helimagnets, forming nanoscale spin-textures. Extending over length scales much larger than the interatomic spacing, they behave as large, classical objects, yet deep inside they are of quantum nature. Penetrating into their microscopic roots requires a multi-scale approach, spanning the full quantum to classical domain. Here, we achieve this for the first time in the skyrmionic Mott insulator Cu 2 OSeO 3. We show that its magnetic building blocks are strongly fluctuating Cu 4 tetrahedra, spawning a continuum theory that culminates in 51a ‰nm large skyrmions, in striking agreement with experiment. One of the further predictions that ensues is the temperature-dependent decay of skyrmions into half-skyrmions.