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      Blowing magnetic skyrmion bubbles

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          Real-space observation of a two-dimensional skyrmion crystal.

          Crystal order is not restricted to the periodic atomic array, but can also be found in electronic systems such as the Wigner crystal or in the form of orbital order, stripe order and magnetic order. In the case of magnetic order, spins align parallel to each other in ferromagnets and antiparallel in antiferromagnets. In other, less conventional, cases, spins can sometimes form highly nontrivial structures called spin textures. Among them is the unusual, topologically stable skyrmion spin texture, in which the spins point in all the directions wrapping a sphere. The skyrmion configuration in a magnetic solid is anticipated to produce unconventional spin-electronic phenomena such as the topological Hall effect. The crystallization of skyrmions as driven by thermal fluctuations has recently been confirmed in a narrow region of the temperature/magnetic field (T-B) phase diagram in neutron scattering studies of the three-dimensional helical magnets MnSi (ref. 17) and Fe(1-x)Co(x)Si (ref. 22). Here we report real-space imaging of a two-dimensional skyrmion lattice in a thin film of Fe(0.5)Co(0.5)Si using Lorentz transmission electron microscopy. With a magnetic field of 50-70 mT applied normal to the film, we observe skyrmions in the form of a hexagonal arrangement of swirling spin textures, with a lattice spacing of 90 nm. The related T-B phase diagram is found to be in good agreement with Monte Carlo simulations. In this two-dimensional case, the skyrmion crystal seems very stable and appears over a wide range of the phase diagram, including near zero temperature. Such a controlled nanometre-scale spin topology in a thin film may be useful in observing unconventional magneto-transport effects.
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            Magnetic domain-wall racetrack memory.

            Recent developments in the controlled movement of domain walls in magnetic nanowires by short pulses of spin-polarized current give promise of a nonvolatile memory device with the high performance and reliability of conventional solid-state memory but at the low cost of conventional magnetic disk drive storage. The racetrack memory described in this review comprises an array of magnetic nanowires arranged horizontally or vertically on a silicon chip. Individual spintronic reading and writing nanodevices are used to modify or read a train of approximately 10 to 100 domain walls, which store a series of data bits in each nanowire. This racetrack memory is an example of the move toward innately three-dimensional microelectronic devices.
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              Skyrmions on the track.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Science
                Science
                American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
                0036-8075
                1095-9203
                July 16 2015
                July 17 2015
                June 11 2015
                July 17 2015
                : 349
                : 6245
                : 283-286
                Article
                10.1126/science.aaa1442
                26067256
                a524760a-d86f-4500-ade9-acc63ab44d21
                © 2015

                http://www.sciencemag.org/about/science-licenses-journal-article-reuse

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