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Creation of artificial skyrmions and antiskyrmions by anisotropy engineering

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Topologically non-trivial spin textures form a fundamental paradigm in solid-state physics and present unique opportunities to explore exciting phenomena such as the topological Hall effect. One such texture is a skyrmion, in which the spins can be mapped to point in all directions wrapping around a sphere. Understanding the formation of these spin textures, and their energetic stability, is crucial in order to control their behavior. In this work, we report on controlling the perpendicular anisotropy of continuous Co/Pt multilayer films with ion irradiation to form unique spin configurations of artificial skyrmions and antiskyrmions that are stabilized by their demagnetization energy. We elucidate their behavior using aberration-corrected Lorentz transmission electron microscopy. We also discuss the energetic stability of these structures studied through in-situ magnetizing experiments performed at room temperature, combined with micromagnetic simulations that successfully reproduce the spin textures and behavior. This research offers new opportunities towards creation of artificial skyrmion or antiskyrmion lattices that can be used to investigate not only fundamental properties of their interaction with electron currents but also technological applications such as artificial magnonic crystals.

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  • 05/08/2017
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  • doi: 10.1038/srep31248
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  • Scientific Reports
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