A magnon scattering platform

Tony X. Zhou*, Joris J. Carmiggelt, Lisa M. Gächter, Ilya Esterlis, Dries Sels, Rainer J. Stöhr, Chunhui Du, Daniel Fernandez, Joaquin F. Rodriguez-Nieva, Felix Büttner, Eugene Demler, Amir Yacoby

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


Scattering experiments have revolutionized our understanding of nature. Examples include the discovery of the nucleus [R. G. Newton, Scattering Theory of Waves and Particles (1982)], crystallography [U. Pietsch, V. Holý, T. Baumback, High-Resolution X-Ray Scattering (2004)], and the discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA [J. D. Watson, F. H. C. Crick, Nature 171, 737–738]. Scattering techniques differ by the type of particles used, the interaction these particles have with target materials, and the range of wavelengths used. Here, we demonstrate a two-dimensional table-top scattering platform for exploring magnetic properties of materials on mesoscopic length scales. Long-lived, coherent magnonic excitations are generated in a thin film of yttrium iron garnet and scattered off a magnetic target deposited on its surface. The scattered waves are then recorded using a scanning nitrogen vacancy center magnetometer that allows subwavelength imaging and operation under conditions ranging from cryogenic to ambient environment. While most scattering platforms measure only the intensity of the scattered waves, our imaging method allows for spatial determination of both amplitude and phase of the scattered waves, thereby allowing for a systematic reconstruction of the target scattering potential. Our experimental results are consistent with theoretical predictions for such a geometry and reveal several unusual features of the magnetic response of the target, including suppression near the target edges and a gradient in the direction perpendicular to the direction of surface wave propagation. Our results establish magnon scattering experiments as a platform for studying correlated many-body systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2019473118
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Scattering | condensed matter physics | quantum sensing | magnetometry magnon


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