Chiral phonons in quartz probed by X-rays

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • Hiroki Ueda - , Paul Scherrer Institute (Author)
  • Mirian García-Fernández - , Diamond Light Source (Author)
  • Stefano Agrestini - , Diamond Light Source (Author)
  • Carl P. Romao - , ETH Zurich (Author)
  • Jeroen van den Brink - , Clusters of Excellence ct.qmat: Complexity and Topology in Quantum Matter, Chair of Solid State Theory, Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research Dresden (Author)
  • Nicola A. Spaldin - , ETH Zurich (Author)
  • Ke Jin Zhou - , Diamond Light Source (Author)
  • Urs Staub - , Paul Scherrer Institute (Author)


The concept of chirality is of great relevance in nature, from chiral molecules such as sugar to parity transformations in particle physics. In condensed matter physics, recent studies have demonstrated chiral fermions and their relevance in emergent phenomena closely related to topology1–3. The experimental verification of chiral phonons (bosons) remains challenging, however, despite their expected strong impact on fundamental physical properties4–6. Here we show experimental proof of chiral phonons using resonant inelastic X-ray scattering with circularly polarized X-rays. Using the prototypical chiral material quartz, we demonstrate that circularly polarized X-rays, which are intrinsically chiral, couple to chiral phonons at specific positions in reciprocal space, allowing us to determine the chiral dispersion of the lattice modes. Our experimental proof of chiral phonons demonstrates a new degree of freedom in condensed matter that is both of fundamental importance and opens the door to exploration of new emergent phenomena based on chiral bosons.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)946-950
Number of pages5
Issue number7967
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2023

External IDs

PubMed 37286603


ASJC Scopus subject areas