Unveiling topological magnetic structures with advanced X-ray vector imaging
There is increasing excitement about the prospects of three-dimensional magnetic systems to provide a rich playground for fundamental physics [1,2]. Indeed, the move from planar, two dimensional systems to truly three-dimensional systems offers a host of exciting properties, whether through the introduction of effects such magnetochirality and complex energy landscapes, or the realisation of topological textures that wind in 3D such as skyrmion tubes , magnetisation singularities , or the recently predicted, but as yet experimentally elusive, topologically non-trivial hopfion . Not only are these objects interesting from a fundamental point of view: their typical sizes – on the nanoscale – and topological stability, have inspired new concepts for technological devices .
When it comes to enhancing our understanding, and long term: control, of these topological objects, visualisation is key. Indeed, recent developments in X-ray magnetic 3D imaging [4,7], which have made the direct visualisation of 3D magnetic configurations possible, have led to first observations of the surroundings of magnetisation singularities , 3D vortex domain walls [4,7] – and their motion!  – along with the very recent discovery of magnetic vortex rings . Now, armed with the necessary experimental capabilities, we find ourselves on the brink of an avalanche of new physics and exciting discoveries.
In this PhD project, you will exploit X-ray magnetic 3D imaging techniques to understand the physics of topological 3D magnetic textures, leading to insights into their formation, stability and behaviour. Using state-of-the-art experimental and analysis techniques, we will push the frontiers of the experimental capabilities, and physical understanding, of these exciting physical systems.