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Research funded in part by the U.S. Army identified properties in materials that could one day lead to applications such as more powerful data storage devices that continue to hold information even after a device has been powered off.

 

A team of researchers led by Cornell University and the University of California Berkeley made a discovery that opens up a plethora of materials systems and physical phenomena that can now be explored.

 

The scientists observed what's known as chirality for the first time in polar skyrmions in an exquisitely designed and synthesized artificial material with reversible electrical properties. Chirality is where two objects, like a pair of gloves, can be mirror images of each other but cannot be superimposed on one another. Polar skyrmions are 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. When the team discovered skyrmions in an electric material, they were astounded, they said.

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Category: Science