Prediction of sub-10 nm skyrmion formation

28.08.2018

Magnetic skyrmions are localized, stable magnetic whirls which could be used as bits to store information in future memory and logic devices. In a paper recently published in Physical Review B (Rapid Comm.) Prediction of sub-10 nm skyrmions in Pd/Fe bilayers on Rh(111) using first-principles calculations it is shown by Soumyajyoti Haldar, Stephan von Malottki, Sebastian Meyer and Stefan Heinze (CAU Kiel) in collaboration with Pavel Bessarab (Univ. of Iceland) that sub-10 nm size skyrmions can form in a new class of materials: 3d/4d transition-metal interfaces. By combining density functional theory and atomistic spin dynamics with the geodesic nudged elastic band method and transition state theory it is demonstrated that the lifetime of skyrmions with radii of 3 – 5 nm is up to an hour at temperatures of up to 40 K – significantly higher than experimentally observed for sub-10 nm skyrmions so far. The applied theoretical approach can guide future experimental efforts to explore skyrmions at novel interfaces.