Professors Ramesh, Martin and Colleagues identify novel “polar vortices”

As winter sets in across the country, scientists in MSE at Berkeley have proved that even sunny California can experience a polar vortex now and then. In this case, however, those polar vortices are only a few nanometers wide and could represent a hot new direction in materials science. In a recent report in the journal Nature (insert link to paper), a Berkeley MSE team lead by the efforts of graduate students Ajay Yadav and Shang-Lin Hsu, and James Clarkson and postdoctoral researchers Chris T. Nelson and Anoop Damodaran together with Professors R. Ramesh and Lane Martin, reported the observation of a novel state of matter in materials – polar vortices (see image). The work, which brought together efforts from UC Berkeley, the Advanced Light Source and the National Center for Electron Microscopy at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, as well Pennsylvania State University and Cambridge University, leveraged cutting-edge synthesis and characterization techniques that enabled the formation and observation of unprecedented topologies of ferroelectric polarization. These emergent structures represent the first observation of a smoothly rotating polarization structure in materials and stand poised to enable new phenomena and effects in the years to come. Additional details can be found here and here: