Harnessing Skyrmion Hall Effect by Thickness Gradients in Wedge-Shaped Samples of Cubic Helimagnets

Nanomaterials (Basel). 2023 Jul 14;13(14):2073. doi: 10.3390/nano13142073.


The skyrmion Hall effect, which is regarded as a significant hurdle for skyrmion implementation in thin-film racetrack devices, is theoretically shown to be suppressed in wedge-shaped nanostructures of cubic helimagnets. Under an applied electric current, ordinary isolated skyrmions with the topological charge 1 were found to move along the straight trajectories parallel to the wedge boundaries. Depending on the current density, such skyrmion tracks are located at different thicknesses uphill along the wedge. Numerical simulations show that such an equilibrium is achieved due to the balance between the Magnus force, which instigates skyrmion shift towards the wedge elevation, and the force, which restores the skyrmion position near the sharp wedge boundary due to the minimum of the edge-skyrmion interaction potential. Current-driven dynamics is found to be highly non-linear and to rest on the internal properties of isolated skyrmions in wedge geometries; both the skyrmion size and the helicity are modified in a non-trivial way with an increasing sample thickness. In addition, we supplement the well-known theoretical phase diagram of states in thin layers of chiral magnets with new characteristic lines; in particular, we demonstrate the second-order phase transition between the helical and conical phases with mutually perpendicular wave vectors. Our results are useful from both the fundamental point of view, since they systematize the internal properties of isolated skyrmions, and from the point of view of applications, since they point to the parameter region, where the skyrmion dynamics could be utilized.

Keywords: Dzyaloshinskii–Moriya interaction; FeGe; chiral magnets; conical spiral; skyrmion; skyrmion Hall effect; surface twists.