Skyrmions get perpendicular – and push the door open for high density data storage

Scientists from ShanghaiTech University, Diamond Light Source, the SOLEIL synchrotron and University of Oxford report in a recent issue of Nano Letters on their discovery of a novel skyrmion surface state that exists in applied in-plane fields – much different from the usual out-of-plane geometry. In this geometry, magnetic signals from the skyrmion lattice phase settle down in inconvenient reciprocal space locations, making resonant elastic X-ray scattering (REXS) on the chiral magnet Cu2OSeO3 a challenging job to carry out. By combining the complementary capabilities of the soft X-ray diffractometers at two synchrotrons (Diamond and SOLEIL) on the very same sample, the new state was unambiguously identified.

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Shilei Zhang, David M. Burn, Nicolas Jaouen, Jean-Yves Chauleau, Amir A. Haghighirad, Yizhou Liu, Weiwei Wang, Gerrit van der Laan, and Thorsten Hesjedal, Robust Perpendicular Skyrmions and Their Surface. Nano Letters 20, 1428 (2020).