Taking magnetism for a spin: Exploring the mysteries of skyrmions

phys.org | 1/23/2019 | Staff
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Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have discovered the relaxation dynamics of a zero-field state in skyrmions, a spinning magnetic phenomenon that has potential applications in data storage and spintronic devices.

Skyrmions are nanoscale whirls or vortices of magnetic poles that form lattices within a magnetic material, a type of quasiparticle that can zip across the material, pushed by electrical current. Those properties have captured the fascination of scientists, who think the phenomenon could lead to the next big advance in data storage, making digital technology even faster and smaller.

Challenges - Skyrmions - Phenomenon - Temperature - Forces

There are some big challenges to overcome, however. Until recently skyrmions were a phenomenon only observed at extreme low temperature. Also, external magnetic forces makes them currently impractical for applications.

"In order to be really useful in a device, these magnetic vortices need to be able to exist without the 'help' of an external magnetic field," said Lin Zhou, a scientist in the Ames Laboratory's Division of Materials Sciences and Engineering.

Mind - Researchers - Ames - Laboratory - FeGe

With that in mind, she and other researchers at Ames Laboratory investigated FeGe, an iron-germanium magnetic material that has demonstrated skyrmions in the highest temperature ranges to date in crystals with a similar, or B20 structure.

Ames Lab scientists with external collaborators were able...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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