Spontaneous creation and annihilation dynamics and strain-limited stability of magnetic skyrmions

Rendell-Bhatti, F., Lamb, R. J., van der Jagt, J. W., Paterson, G. W. , Swagten, H. J.M. and McGrouther, D. (2020) Spontaneous creation and annihilation dynamics and strain-limited stability of magnetic skyrmions. Nature Communications, 11, 3536. (doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-17338-7)

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Abstract

Magnetic skyrmions are topological magnetic spin structures exhibiting particle-like behaviour. They are of strong interest from a fundamental viewpoint and for application, where they have potential to act as information carriers in future low-power computing technologies. Importantly, skyrmions have high physical stability because of topological protection. However, they have potential to deform according to their local energy environment. Here we demonstrate that, in regions of high exchange energy density, skyrmions may exhibit such extreme deformation that spontaneous merging with nearest neighbours or spawning new skyrmions is favoured to attain a lower energy state. Using transmission electron microscopy and a high-speed imaging detector, we observe dynamics involving distinct configurational states, in which transitions are accompanied by spontaneous creation or annihilation of skyrmions. These observations raise important questions regarding the limits of skyrmion stability and topological charge conservation, while also suggesting a means of control of skyrmion creation and annihilation.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McGrouther, Dr Damien and Paterson, Dr Gary and Lamb, Mr Raymond and rendell, Mr fred
Authors: Rendell-Bhatti, F., Lamb, R. J., van der Jagt, J. W., Paterson, G. W., Swagten, H. J.M., and McGrouther, D.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy
Journal Name:Nature Communications
Publisher:Nature Research
ISSN:2041-1723
ISSN (Online):2041-1723
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in Nature Communications 11: 3536
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License
Data DOI:10.5525/gla.researchdata.1030

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
190883Consortium for advanced materials based on spin chiralityStephen McVitieEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/M024423/1P&S - Physics & Astronomy