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New light on magnetic skyrmion interactions in thin films

Magnetic skyrmions are tiny vortex-like configurations that if properly manipulated may hold great promise for spintronics applications. EU-funded scientists conducted further experimental studies on the interactions of magnetic skyrmions that should be a crucial step for their integration into next-generation information storage and processing devices.
New light on magnetic skyrmion interactions in thin films
Magnetic materials lacking inversion symmetry have proven potential to show intrinsic torques. Such materials can host chiral interactions that lead to chiral magnetic ground states such as skyrmions. Magnetic skyrmions are particle-like solitons of a few nanometres in size, whose spin structure can be mapped continuously onto a sphere.

Due to their small size, skyrmions can be used to develop extremely dense data storage devices, ushering in a new class of low-power devices. Skyrmions are not easy to control though, and many efforts have been devoted to creating stable skyrmions over the years. In addition, research has mainly focused on skyrmions formed in bulk magnetic materials.

In the EU-funded project SKYHIGH (Skyrmion devices and their high frequency dynamics), scientists aimed to further explore the dynamics of magnetic skyrmions in magnetic thin films.

The team investigated skyrmion interactions hosted in thin germanide films. Magnetisation dynamics of skyrmions in such films were detected through advanced high-frequency measurement systems.

In multilayers, skyrmions originate due to Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interactions that result from the broken inversion symmetry at the interfaces. Measurements of spin polarisation in thin-film multilayers produced new knowledge about interactions, rendering such thin-film systems promising for skyrmion manipulation.

Better control over the magnetic properties of interacting skyrmions should provide the fundamental basis for new technologies advancing spintronics – those that seek to leverage these properties for computation and communication applications. Skyrmions can be manipulated to encode information, with their presence or absence representing bits.

Related information

Subjects

Life Sciences

Keywords

Magnetic skyrmion, thin films, spintronics, inversion symmetry, SKYHIGH
Record Number: 190989 / Last updated on: 2017-02-06
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