Tunable room-temperature magnetic skyrmions in Ir/Fe/Co/Pt multilayers

Authors: Anjan Soumyanarayanan , M. Raju , A. L. Gonzalez Oyarce, Anthony K. C. Tan, Mi-Young Im, A. P. Petrović , Pin Ho, K. H. Khoo, M. Tran, C. K. Gan, F. Ernult & Christos Panagopoulos

Published in: Nature Materials, 2017.

Magnetic skyrmions are nanoscale topological spin structures offering great promise for next-generation information storage technologies. The recent discovery of sub-100-nm room-temperature (RT) skyrmions in several multilayer films has triggered vigorous efforts to modulate their physical properties for their use in devices. Here we present a tunable RT skyrmion platform based on multilayer stacks of Ir/Fe/Co/Pt, which we study using X-ray microscopy, magnetic force microscopy and Hall transport techniques. By varying the ferromagnetic layer composition, we can tailor the magnetic interactions governing skyrmion properties, thereby tuning their thermodynamic stability parameter by an order of magnitude. The skyrmions exhibit a smooth crossover between isolated (metastable) and disordered lattice configurations across samples, while their size and density can be tuned by factors of two and ten, respectively. We thus establish a platform for investigating functional sub-50-nm RT skyrmions, pointing towards the development of skyrmion-based memory devices.

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