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제목 PRL 109, 246802
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조회수 1211 등록일시 2013-01-21 13:12


(STM image of soliton state)

Title : Topological Solitons versus Nonsolitonic Phase Defects in a Quasi-One-Dimensional Charge-Density Wave


In 1834, a naval engineer John Scott Russell first observed a self-reinforcing and constantly
traveling solitary wave in the Union Canal in Scotland. This beautiful phenomenon due to the nonlinearity of wave media is now called a soliton and has important roles in modern technology like optical communication.

While macroscopic and classical solitons are easily and ubiquitously found, from tsunami to blood pressure pulses, those in microscopic and quantum world of atoms and electrons are hard to observe. For example, in conducting polymer chains, solitons exist as topological excitation from the degenerate charge density wave ground states with  strange spin and charge relationship. While the existence of such quantum solitons were predicted theoretically and evidenced by the transport and spectroscopy measurements, the direct observation has been hampered by their high mobility and nanometer dimension.

In this work, we clearly imaged by scanning tunneling microscopy the quantum soliton within the charge density wave ground states of indium atomic wires self assembled on a silicon surface.  The soliton connect smoothly the two charge density waves within a length of ~7.6 nm (see the figure) and is transiently or statically trapped by the defects on the wires. This work paves the avenue toward the microscopic study and exploitation of the peculiar properties of quantum solitons.  

Phys. Rev. Lett.109, 246802 (2012)
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