Additive interfacial chiral interaction in multilayers for stabilization of small individual skyrmions at room temperature

Nat Nanotechnol. 2016 May;11(5):444-8. doi: 10.1038/nnano.2015.313. Epub 2016 Jan 18.


Facing the ever-growing demand for data storage will most probably require a new paradigm. Nanoscale magnetic skyrmions are anticipated to solve this issue as they are arguably the smallest spin textures in magnetic thin films in nature. We designed cobalt-based multilayered thin films in which the cobalt layer is sandwiched between two heavy metals and so provides additive interfacial Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interactions (DMIs), which reach a value close to 2 mJ m(-2) in the case of the Ir|Co|Pt asymmetric multilayers. Using a magnetization-sensitive scanning X-ray transmission microscopy technique, we imaged small magnetic domains at very low fields in these multilayers. The study of their behaviour in a perpendicular magnetic field allows us to conclude that they are actually magnetic skyrmions stabilized by the large DMI. This discovery of stable sub-100 nm individual skyrmions at room temperature in a technologically relevant material opens the way for device applications in the near future.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't