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PGI-1 Seminar: Prof. Dr. Stefan Heinze

Nanoscale magnetic skyrmions in ultra-thin films at surfaces

02.May.2013 14:00

University of Kiel


Skyrmions are topologically protected field configurations with particle‐like properties that play an important role in various fields of science. They have been predicted to exist also in bulk magnets and in recent experiments it was shown that they can be induced by a magnetic field. Besides the fundamental interest in magnetic skyrmions they offer attractive perspectives in spintronic applications due to their intriguing topological properties. So far, magnetic skyrmions were restricted to bulk magnets with a particular chiral crystal structure greatly limiting the number of available systems. A key ingredient for their occurrence is the Dzyaloshinskii‐Moriya interaction (DMI) which was found to be strong also for magnetic nanostructures on surfaces with large spin‐orbit coupling. In these systems the DMI stabilizes spin‐spirals with a unique rotational sense propagating along one direction of the surface. 

Here, I will show that ultra-thin films at surfaces present a new class of systems for the occurrence of magnetic skyrmions. We demonstrate by a combined experimental and theoretical study the existence of atomic-scale magnetic skyrmion lattices in a monolayer Fe film on the Ir(111) surface. The properties of such a skyrmion system can be tuned by growing atomic overlayers. This opens new vistas in the study of topologically non-trivial spin textures, e.g. writing and deleting of single skyrmions.


Prof. Dr. Stefan Blügel
Phone: +49 2461 61-4249
Fax: +49 2461 61-2850