A novel type of charged excitation, known as a Skyrmion, has recently been discovered in quantum Hall systems with filling factor near v = 1. A Skyrmion - which can be thought of as a topological twist in the spin density of the electron gas - has the same charge as an electron, but a much larger spin. In this review we present a detailed theoretical investigation of the optical properties of Skyrmions. Our results provide means for the optical detection of Skyrmions using photoluminescence (PL) spectroscopy. We first consider the optical properties of Skyrmions in disordered systems. A calculation of the luminescence energy reveals a special optical signature which allows us to distinguish between Skyrmions and ordinary electrons. Two experiments to measure the optical signature are proposed. We then turn to the optical properties of Skyrmions in pure systems. We show that, just like an ordinary electron, a Skyrmion may bind with a hole to form a Skyrmionic exciton. The Skyrmionic exciton can have a lower energy than the ordinary magnetoexciton. The optical signature of Skyrmions is found to be a robust feature of the PL spectrum in both disordered and pure systems.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
- Condensed Matter Physics