Simple detection of magnetic skyrmions


Magnetic skyrmions – stable magnetic whirls with diameters down to a few nanometers – are promising candidates as bits in future magnetic storage devices such as race-track memories. Researchers from the University of Hamburg ( Wiesendanger group) and from the University of Kiel (Heinze group) report this week in Nature Nanotechnology on electrical detection of skyrmions using a novel transport effect coined the tunneling non-collinear magnetoresistance. In a tunnel junction with a nonmagnetic electrode the conductance changes in a skyrmion due to spin mixing resulting from its non-collinear spin structure. As highlighted in a news & views article by T. Monchesky this discovery may facilitate the detection of skyrmionic bits in future spintronic devices.