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Deterministic Generation and Guided Motion of Magnetic Skyrmions by Focused He+-Ion Irradiation

L.-M. Kern1, B. Pfau1, V. Deinhart1,2,3, M. Schneider1, C. Klose1, K. Gerlinger1, S. Wittrock1, D. Engel1, I. Will1, C.M. Günther4, R. Liefferink5, J.H. Mentink5, S. Wintz6, M. Weigand3, M.-J. Huang7, R. Battistelli3, D. Metternich3, F. Büttner3, K. Höflich2,3, and S. Eisebitt1,8

Published in:

Nano Lett., vol. 22, no. 10, pp. 4028-4035, doi:10.1021/acs.nanolett.2c00670 (2022).


Magnetic skyrmions are quasiparticles with nontrivial topology, envisioned to play a key role in next-generation data technology while simultaneously attracting fundamental research interest due to their emerging topological charge. In chiral magnetic multilayers, current-generated spin-orbit torques or ultrafast laser excitation can be used to nucleate isolated skyrmions on a picosecond time scale. Both methods, however, produce randomly arranged skyrmions, which inherently limits the precision on the location at which the skyrmions are nucleated. Here, we show that nanopatterning of the anisotropy landscape with a He+-ion beam creates well-defined skyrmion nucleation sites, thereby transforming the skyrmion localization into a deterministic process. This approach allows control of individual skyrmion nucleation as well as guided skyrmion motion with nanometer-scale precision, which is pivotal for both future fundamental studies of skyrmion dynamics and applications.

1 Max Born Institute for Nonlinear Optics and Short Pulse Spectroscopy, 12489 Berlin, Germany
2 Ferdinand-Braun-Institut gGmbH, Leibniz-Institut für Höchstfrequenztechnik, 12489 Berlin, Germany
3 Helmholtz-Zentrum für Materialien und Energie GmbH, 14109 Berlin, Germany
4 Technische Universität Berlin, Zentraleinrichtung Elektronenmikroskopie (ZELMI), 10623 Berlin, Germany
5 Radboud University, Institute for Molecules and Materials (IMM), 6525 AJ Nijmegen, Netherlands
6 Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, 70569 Stuttgart, Germany
7 Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY), 22607 Hamburg, Germany
8 Technische Universität Berlin, Institut für Optik und Atomare Physik, 10623 Berlin, Germany


magnetic skyrmions, ion irradiation, current-induced and laser-induced dynamics, magnetic racetrack, soft X-ray imaging

Copyright © 2022 The Authors. Published by American Chemical Society

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