skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Current-Induced Skyrmion Generation through Morphological Thermal Transitions in Chiral Ferromagnetic Heterostructures

Abstract

Magnetic skyrmions promise breakthroughs in future memory and computing devices due to their inherent stability and small size. Their creation and current driven motion have been recently observed at room temperature, but the key mechanisms of their formation are not yet well-understood. Here it is shown that in heavy metal/ferromagnet heterostructures, pulsed currents can drive morphological transitions between labyrinth-like, stripe-like, and skyrmionic states. Using high-resolution X-ray microscopy, the spin texture evolution with temperature and magnetic field is imaged and it is demonstrated that with transient Joule heating, topological charges can be injected into the system, driving it across the stripe-skyrmion boundary. The observations are explained through atomistic spin dynamic and micromagnetic simulations that reveal a crossover to a global skyrmionic ground state above a threshold magnetic field, which is found to decrease with increasing temperature. It is demonstrated how by tuning the phase stability, one can reliably generate skyrmions by short current pulses and stabilize them at zero field, providing new means to create and manipulate spin textures in engineered chiral ferromagnets.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [2];  [3];  [3];  [3];  [3];  [3];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [4];  [5];  [5];  [6];  [4];  [4];  [3];  [7];  [1]
  1. Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States)
  2. Johannes Gutenberg Univ., Mainz (Germany); Graduate School of Excellence Materials Science in Mainz (Germany); Max Planck Inst. for Intelligent Systems, Stuttgart (Germany)
  3. Johannes Gutenberg Univ., Mainz (Germany)
  4. Max Planck Inst. for Intelligent Systems, Stuttgart (Germany)
  5. Paul Scherrer Inst. (PSI), Villigen (Switzerland). Swiss Light Source
  6. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States); Department of Emerging Materials Science, Daegu (Korea, Republic of); Ulsan National Inst. of Science and Technology (Korea, Republic of)
  7. Johannes Gutenberg Univ., Mainz (Germany); Graduate School of Excellence Materials Science in Mainz (Germany)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1530325
DOE Contract Number:  
AC02-05CH11231
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Advanced Materials
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 30; Journal Issue: 49; Journal ID: ISSN 0935-9648
Publisher:
Wiley
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE

Citation Formats

Lemesh, Ivan, Litzius, Kai, Böttcher, Marie, Bassirian, Pedram, Kerber, Nico, Heinze, Daniel, Zázvorka, Jakub, Büttner, Felix, Caretta, Lucas, Mann, Maxwell, Weigand, Markus, Finizio, Simone, Raabe, Jörg, Im, Mi-Young, Stoll, Hermann, Schütz, Gisela, Dupé, Bertrand, Kläui, Mathias, and Beach, Geoffrey S. D. Current-Induced Skyrmion Generation through Morphological Thermal Transitions in Chiral Ferromagnetic Heterostructures. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1002/adma.201805461.
Lemesh, Ivan, Litzius, Kai, Böttcher, Marie, Bassirian, Pedram, Kerber, Nico, Heinze, Daniel, Zázvorka, Jakub, Büttner, Felix, Caretta, Lucas, Mann, Maxwell, Weigand, Markus, Finizio, Simone, Raabe, Jörg, Im, Mi-Young, Stoll, Hermann, Schütz, Gisela, Dupé, Bertrand, Kläui, Mathias, & Beach, Geoffrey S. D. Current-Induced Skyrmion Generation through Morphological Thermal Transitions in Chiral Ferromagnetic Heterostructures. United States. doi:10.1002/adma.201805461.
Lemesh, Ivan, Litzius, Kai, Böttcher, Marie, Bassirian, Pedram, Kerber, Nico, Heinze, Daniel, Zázvorka, Jakub, Büttner, Felix, Caretta, Lucas, Mann, Maxwell, Weigand, Markus, Finizio, Simone, Raabe, Jörg, Im, Mi-Young, Stoll, Hermann, Schütz, Gisela, Dupé, Bertrand, Kläui, Mathias, and Beach, Geoffrey S. D. Thu . "Current-Induced Skyrmion Generation through Morphological Thermal Transitions in Chiral Ferromagnetic Heterostructures". United States. doi:10.1002/adma.201805461. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1530325.
@article{osti_1530325,
title = {Current-Induced Skyrmion Generation through Morphological Thermal Transitions in Chiral Ferromagnetic Heterostructures},
author = {Lemesh, Ivan and Litzius, Kai and Böttcher, Marie and Bassirian, Pedram and Kerber, Nico and Heinze, Daniel and Zázvorka, Jakub and Büttner, Felix and Caretta, Lucas and Mann, Maxwell and Weigand, Markus and Finizio, Simone and Raabe, Jörg and Im, Mi-Young and Stoll, Hermann and Schütz, Gisela and Dupé, Bertrand and Kläui, Mathias and Beach, Geoffrey S. D.},
abstractNote = {Magnetic skyrmions promise breakthroughs in future memory and computing devices due to their inherent stability and small size. Their creation and current driven motion have been recently observed at room temperature, but the key mechanisms of their formation are not yet well-understood. Here it is shown that in heavy metal/ferromagnet heterostructures, pulsed currents can drive morphological transitions between labyrinth-like, stripe-like, and skyrmionic states. Using high-resolution X-ray microscopy, the spin texture evolution with temperature and magnetic field is imaged and it is demonstrated that with transient Joule heating, topological charges can be injected into the system, driving it across the stripe-skyrmion boundary. The observations are explained through atomistic spin dynamic and micromagnetic simulations that reveal a crossover to a global skyrmionic ground state above a threshold magnetic field, which is found to decrease with increasing temperature. It is demonstrated how by tuning the phase stability, one can reliably generate skyrmions by short current pulses and stabilize them at zero field, providing new means to create and manipulate spin textures in engineered chiral ferromagnets.},
doi = {10.1002/adma.201805461},
journal = {Advanced Materials},
issn = {0935-9648},
number = 49,
volume = 30,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {10}
}

Works referenced in this record:

Current-driven periodic domain wall creation in ferromagnetic nanowires
journal, August 2016


Skyrmion lattice phase in three-dimensional chiral magnets from Monte Carlo simulations
journal, November 2013


Implications of the B20 crystal structure for the magnetoelectronic structure of MnSi
journal, August 2004


A thermodynamic theory of “weak” ferromagnetism of antiferromagnetics
journal, January 1958


Current-driven dynamics of chiral ferromagnetic domain walls
journal, June 2013

  • Emori, Satoru; Bauer, Uwe; Ahn, Sung-Min
  • Nature Materials, Vol. 12, Issue 7
  • DOI: 10.1038/nmat3675

Room-temperature chiral magnetic skyrmions in ultrathin magnetic nanostructures
journal, January 2016

  • Boulle, Olivier; Vogel, Jan; Yang, Hongxin
  • Nature Nanotechnology, Vol. 11, Issue 5
  • DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2015.315

Path to collapse for an isolated Néel skyrmion
journal, June 2016


Field-Dependent Size and Shape of Single Magnetic Skyrmions
journal, May 2015


Skyrmions on the track
journal, March 2013

  • Fert, Albert; Cros, Vincent; Sampaio, João
  • Nature Nanotechnology, Vol. 8, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2013.29

Magnetic Domain Structures in Thin Uniaxial Plates with Perpendicular Easy Axis
journal, December 1971

  • Cape, J. A.; Lehman, G. W.
  • Journal of Applied Physics, Vol. 42, Issue 13
  • DOI: 10.1063/1.1660007

Skyrmion Lattice in a Chiral Magnet
journal, February 2009


Nucleation, stability and current-induced motion of isolated magnetic skyrmions in nanostructures
journal, October 2013


A strategy for the design of skyrmion racetrack memories
journal, October 2014

  • Tomasello, R.; Martinez, E.; Zivieri, R.
  • Scientific Reports, Vol. 4, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1038/srep06784

Capturing of a magnetic skyrmion with a hole
journal, February 2015


Trochoidal motion and pair generation in skyrmion and antiskyrmion dynamics under spin–orbit torques
journal, August 2018


Joule heating in nanowires
journal, August 2011


Observation of room-temperature magnetic skyrmions and their current-driven dynamics in ultrathin metallic ferromagnets
journal, February 2016

  • Woo, Seonghoon; Litzius, Kai; Krüger, Benjamin
  • Nature Materials, Vol. 15, Issue 5
  • DOI: 10.1038/nmat4593

Stabilizing spin spirals and isolated skyrmions at low magnetic field exploiting vanishing magnetic anisotropy
journal, March 2018


Phase Transition in Magnetic Bubble Lattices
journal, March 1989


Dynamics and inertia of skyrmionic spin structures
journal, February 2015

  • Büttner, Felix; Moutafis, C.; Schneider, M.
  • Nature Physics, Vol. 11, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1038/nphys3234

Skyrmion Hall effect revealed by direct time-resolved X-ray microscopy
journal, December 2016

  • Litzius, Kai; Lemesh, Ivan; Krüger, Benjamin
  • Nature Physics, Vol. 13, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1038/nphys4000

Spin Hall effects
journal, October 2015

  • Sinova, Jairo; Valenzuela, Sergio O.; Wunderlich, J.
  • Reviews of Modern Physics, Vol. 87, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1103/RevModPhys.87.1213

Tailoring magnetic skyrmions in ultra-thin transition metal films
journal, June 2014

  • Dupé, Bertrand; Hoffmann, Markus; Paillard, Charles
  • Nature Communications, Vol. 5, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5030

Skyrmion production on demand by homogeneous DC currents
journal, September 2017

  • Everschor-Sitte, Karin; Sitte, Matthias; Valet, Thierry
  • New Journal of Physics, Vol. 19, Issue 9
  • DOI: 10.1088/1367-2630/aa8569

Writing and Deleting Single Magnetic Skyrmions
journal, August 2013


Potential implementation of reservoir computing models based on magnetic skyrmions
journal, May 2018

  • Bourianoff, George; Pinna, Daniele; Sitte, Matthias
  • AIP Advances, Vol. 8, Issue 5
  • DOI: 10.1063/1.5006918

Generation of magnetic skyrmion bubbles by inhomogeneous spin Hall currents
journal, March 2016


Field-free deterministic ultrafast creation of magnetic skyrmions by spin–orbit torques
journal, October 2017

  • Büttner, Felix; Lemesh, Ivan; Schneider, Michael
  • Nature Nanotechnology, Vol. 12, Issue 11
  • DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2017.178

Phase transitions with spontaneous modulation-the dipolar Ising ferromagnet
journal, July 1982


Domain Shapes and Patterns: The Phenomenology of Modulated Phases
journal, January 1995


Anisotropic Superexchange Interaction and Weak Ferromagnetism
journal, October 1960


Room-Temperature Current-Induced Generation and Motion of sub-100 nm Skyrmions
journal, March 2017


Magnetic skyrmion logic gates: conversion, duplication and merging of skyrmions
journal, March 2015

  • Zhang, Xichao; Ezawa, Motohiko; Zhou, Yan
  • Scientific Reports, Vol. 5, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1038/srep09400

Erratum: Additive interfacial chiral interaction in multilayers for stabilization of small individual skyrmions at room temperature
journal, August 2016

  • Moreau-Luchaire, C.; Moutafis, C.; Reyren, N.
  • Nature Nanotechnology, Vol. 11, Issue 8
  • DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2016.107

Blowing magnetic skyrmion bubbles
journal, June 2015


Theory of antiskyrmions in magnets
journal, January 2016

  • Koshibae, Wataru; Nagaosa, Naoto
  • Nature Communications, Vol. 7, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1038/ncomms10542

Real-space observation of a two-dimensional skyrmion crystal
journal, June 2010


Direct observation of the skyrmion Hall effect
journal, September 2016

  • Jiang, Wanjun; Zhang, Xichao; Yu, Guoqiang
  • Nature Physics, Vol. 13, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1038/nphys3883

Accurate model of the stripe domain phase of perpendicularly magnetized multilayers
journal, May 2017


Enhanced skyrmion stability due to exchange frustration
journal, September 2017


Theory of domain patterns in systems with long-range interactions of Coulomb type
journal, December 2002


Tailoring magnetic energies to form dipole skyrmions and skyrmion lattices
journal, January 2017