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

Frederic Rendell-Bhatti, Raymond J. Lamb, Johannes W. van der Jagt, Gary W. Paterson, Henk J. M. Swagten, Damien McGrouther

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Received Date: 19th December 19

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 have observed 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.

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This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on an independent third party site. It has not been peer reviewed but is currently under consideration at Nature Communications.

Nature Communications

Nature Research, Springer Nature