Nanoscale topological defects, such as vortices and skyrmions in ferroic systems, have been intensively investigated due to their intriguing properties and behaviors. In addition to harnessing and tuning their functionalities, spatial manipulation and control of topological defects as functional elements are important for future nanotechnologies. Here, we report a linear alignment behavior of single-chiral vortices observed in thin transmission electron microscopy samples of multiferroic hexagonal manganites during an in situ heating experiment. In order to avoid chemical degradation during high-temperature heating in vacuum, we have utilized a rapid heating and quenching by in situ electric arcing. Using atomic resolution electron microscopy and phase-field simulation, we found that vortices and antivortices formed near the phase transition temperature are pulled out in the opposite directions by mechanical strain to leave single-chiral vortices linearly aligned along an isothermal line formed during quenching. Our study provides important insight into spatial manipulation of the topological defects in oxide multiferroics by investigating far-equilibrium dynamics of symmetry-breaking continuous phase transitions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)