Magnetic skyrmions are topologically nontrivial spin textures with envisioned applications in energy-efficient magnetic information storage. Toggling the presence of magnetic skyrmions via writing/deleting processes is essential for spintronics applications, which usually require the application of a magnetic field, a gate voltage or an electric current. Here we demonstrate the reversible field-free writing/deleting of skyrmions at room temperature, via hydrogen chemisorption/desorption on the surface of Ni and Co films. Supported by Monte-Carlo simulations, the skyrmion creation/annihilation is attributed to the hydrogen-induced magnetic anisotropy change on ferromagnetic surfaces. We also demonstrate the role of hydrogen and oxygen on magnetic anisotropy and skyrmion deletion on other magnetic surfaces. Our results open up new possibilities for designing skyrmionic and magneto-ionic devices.
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- Nature Communications
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- National Science Foundation
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Abstract Room-temperature skyrmions in magnetic multilayers are considered to be promising candidates for the next-generation spintronic devices. Several approaches have been developed to control skyrmions, but they either cause significant heat dissipation or require ultrahigh electric fields near the breakdown threshold. Here, we demonstrate electric-field control of skyrmions through strain-mediated magnetoelectric coupling in ferromagnetic/ferroelectric multiferroic heterostructures. We show the process of non-volatile creation of multiple skyrmions, reversible deformation and annihilation of a single skyrmion by performing magnetic force microscopy with in situ electric fields. Strain-induced changes in perpendicular magnetic anisotropy and interfacial Dzyaloshinskii–Moriya interaction strength are characterized experimentally. These experimental results, together with micromagnetic simulations, demonstrate that strain-mediated magnetoelectric coupling (via strain-induced changes in both the perpendicular magnetic anisotropy and interfacial Dzyaloshinskii–Moriya interaction is responsible for the observed electric-field control of skyrmions. Our work provides a platform to investigate electric-field control of skyrmions in multiferroic heterostructures and paves the way towards more energy-efficient skyrmion-based spintronics.
Magnetic skyrmions are of great interest to both fundamental research and applications in post-von-Neumann computing devices. The successful implementation of skyrmionic devices requires functionalities of skyrmions with effective controls. Here we show that the local dynamics of skyrmions, in contrast to the global dynamics of a skyrmion as a whole, can be introduced to provide effective functionalities for versatile computing. A single skyrmion interacting with local pinning centres under thermal effects can fluctuate in time and switch between a small-skyrmion and a large-skyrmion state, thereby serving as a robust true random number generator for probabilistic computing. Moreover, neighbouring skyrmions exhibit an anti-correlated coupling in their fluctuation dynamics. Both the switching probability and the dynamic coupling strength can be tuned by modifying the applied magnetic field and spin current. Our results could lead to progress in developing magnetic skyrmionic devices with high tunability and efficient controls.
Magnetic skyrmions are swirling spin structures stabilized typically by the Dyzaloshinskii-Moriya interaction. The existing control of magnetic skyrmions has often relied on the use of an electric current, which may cause overheating in densely packed devices. Here we demonstrate, using phase-field simulations, that an isolated Néel skyrmion in a magnetic nanodisk can be repeatedly created and deleted by voltage-induced strains from a juxtaposed piezoelectric. Such a skyrmion switching is non-volatile, and consumes only ~0.5 fJ per switching which is about five orders of magnitude smaller than that by current-induced spin-transfer-torques. It is found that the strain-mediated skyrmion creation occurs through an intermediate vortex-like spin structure, and that the skyrmion deletion occurs though a homogenous shrinkage during which the Néel wall is temporarily transformed to a vortex-wall. These findings are expected to stimulate experimental research into strain-mediated voltage control of skyrmions, as well as other chiral spin structures for low-power spintronics.
Robust skyrmion mediated reversal of ferromagnetic nanodots of 20 nm lateral dimension with high Ms and observable DMIAbstract Implementation of skyrmion based energy efficient and high-density data storage devices requires aggressive scaling of skyrmion size. Ferrimagnetic materials are considered to be a suitable platform for this purpose due to their low saturation magnetization (i.e. smaller stray field). However, this method of lowering the saturation magnetization and scaling the lateral size of skyrmions is only applicable where the skyrmions have a smaller lateral dimension compared to the hosting film. Here, we show by performing rigorous micromagnetic simulation that the size of skyrmions, which have lateral dimension comparable to their hosting nanodot can be scaled by increasing saturation magnetization. Also, when the lateral dimension of nanodot is reduced and thereby the skyrmion confined in it is downscaled, there remains a challenge in forming a stable skyrmion with experimentally observed Dzyaloshinskii–Moriya interaction (DMI) values since this interaction has to facilitate higher canting per spin to complete a 360° rotation along the diameter. In our study, we found that skyrmions can be formed in 20 nm lateral dimension nanodots with high saturation magnetization (1.30–1.70 MA/m) and DMI values (~ 3 mJ/m 2 ) that have been reported to date. This result could stimulate experiments on implementation of highly dense skyrmion devices. Additionally, using this, we show that voltage controlled magnetic anisotropy basedmore »
Skyrmions are widely regarded as promising candidates for emergent spintronic devices. Dzyaloshinskii–Moriya interaction (DMI) is often critical to the generation and manipulation of skyrmions. However, there is a fundamental lack of understanding of the origin of DMI or the mechanism by which DMI generates skyrmions in magnetic bilayers. Very little is known of the material parameters that determine the value of DMI. This knowledge is vital for rational design of skyrmion materials and further development of skyrmion technology. To address this important problem, we investigate DMI in magnetic bilayers using first principles. We present a new theoretical model that explains the microscopic origin of DMI in magnetic bilayers. We demonstrate that DMI depends on two parameters, interfacial hybridization and orbital contributions of the heavy metal. Using these parameters, we explain the trend of DMI observed. We also report four new materials systems with giant DMI and new designs for magnetic multilayers that are expected to outperform the best materials known so far. Our results present a notably new understanding of DMI, uncover highly promising materials and put forth pathways for the controlled generation of skyrmions.