Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Taking magnetism for a spin: Exploring the mysteries of skyrmions

24.01.2019

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have discovered the relaxation dynamics of a zero-field state in skyrmions, a spinning magnetic phenomenon that has potential applications in data storage and spintronic devices.

Skyrmions are nanoscale whirls or vortices of magnetic poles that form lattices within a magnetic material, a type of quasiparticle that can zip across the material, pushed by electrical current.


Skyrmions are nanoscale whirls or vortices of magnetic poles that form lattices within a magnetic material, a type of quasiparticle that can zip across the material, pushed by electrical current.

Credit: Ames Laboratory, US Department of Energy

Those properties have captured the fascination of scientists, who think the phenomenon could lead to the next big advance in data storage, making digital technology even faster and smaller.

There are some big challenges to overcome, however. Until recently skyrmions were a phenomenon only observed at extreme low temperature. Also, external magnetic forces makes them currently impractical for applications.

"In order to be really useful in a device, these magnetic vortices need to be able to exist without the 'help' of an external magnetic field," said Lin Zhou, a scientist in the Ames Laboratory's Division of Materials Sciences and Engineering.

With that in mind, she and other researchers at Ames Laboratory investigated FeGe, an iron-germanium magnetic material that has demonstrated skyrmions in the highest temperature ranges to date in crystals with a similar, or B20 structure.

Ames Lab scientists with external collaborators were able to establish a skyrmion lattice in a sample through exposure to magnetic fields and supercooling with liquid nitrogen. With a high resolution microscopy method called Lorentz transmission electron microscopy (L-TEM), the team was able to observe the skyrmion lattice in zero magnetic field, and then observe the decay of the skyrmions as the temperature warmed.

This direct observation yielded critical new information about how skyrmions behave and how they revert back to a 'normal' (what scientists call metastable) magnetic state.

"We've stabilized these skyrmions without a magnetic field, and our microscopy techniques allowed us to really see how the vortices change over time, temperature, and magnetic field; we think it provides a very solid foundation for theorists to better understand this phenomenon," Zhou said.

###

The research is further discussed in the paper, "Relaxation Dynamics of Zero-Field Skyrmions over a Wide Temperature Range," authored by Licong Peng, Ying Zhang, Liqin Ke, Tae-Hoon Kim, Qiang Zheng, Jiaqiang Yan, X.-G. Zhang, Yang Gao, Shouguo Wang, Jianwang Cai, Boagen Shen, Robert J. McQueeney, Adam Kaminski, Matthew J. Kramer, and Lin Zhou; and published in Nano Letters.

Ames Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science national laboratory operated by Iowa State University. Ames Laboratory creates innovative materials, technologies and energy solutions. We use our expertise, unique capabilities and interdisciplinary collaborations to solve global problems.

DOE's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

Laura Millsaps | EurekAlert!
Further information:
https://www.ameslab.gov/news/news-releases/taking-magnetism-spin-exploring-the-mysteries-skyrmions

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Happy hour for time-resolved crystallography

Researchers from the Department of Atomically Resolved Dynamics of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg, the University of Hamburg and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) outstation in the city have developed a new method to watch biomolecules at work. This method dramatically simplifies starting enzymatic reactions by mixing a cocktail of small amounts of liquids with protein crystals. Determination of the protein structures at different times after mixing can be assembled into a time-lapse sequence that shows the molecular foundations of biology.

The functions of biomolecules are determined by their motions and structural changes. Yet it is a formidable challenge to understand these dynamic motions.

Im Focus: Modular OLED light strips

At the International Symposium on Automotive Lighting 2019 (ISAL) in Darmstadt from September 23 to 25, 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, a provider of research and development services in the field of organic electronics, will present OLED light strips of any length with additional functionalities for the first time at booth no. 37.

Almost everyone is familiar with light strips for interior design. LED strips are available by the metre in DIY stores around the corner and are just as often...

Im Focus: Tomorrow´s coolants of choice

Scientists assess the potential of magnetic-cooling materials

Later during this century, around 2060, a paradigm shift in global energy consumption is expected: we will spend more energy for cooling than for heating....

Im Focus: The working of a molecular string phone

Researchers from the Department of Atomically Resolved Dynamics of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg, the University of Potsdam (both in Germany) and the University of Toronto (Canada) have pieced together a detailed time-lapse movie revealing all the major steps during the catalytic cycle of an enzyme. Surprisingly, the communication between the protein units is accomplished via a water-network akin to a string telephone. This communication is aligned with a ‘breathing’ motion, that is the expansion and contraction of the protein.

This time-lapse sequence of structures reveals dynamic motions as a fundamental element in the molecular foundations of biology.

Im Focus: Milestones on the Way to the Nuclear Clock

Two research teams have succeeded simultaneously in measuring the long-sought Thorium nuclear transition, which enables extremely precise nuclear clocks. TU Wien (Vienna) is part of both teams.

If you want to build the most accurate clock in the world, you need something that "ticks" very fast and extremely precise. In an atomic clock, electrons are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Society 5.0: putting humans at the heart of digitalisation

10.09.2019 | Event News

Interspeech 2019 conference: Alexa and Siri in Graz

04.09.2019 | Event News

AI for Laser Technology Conference: optimizing the use of lasers with artificial intelligence

29.08.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Novel mechanism of electron scattering in graphene-like 2D materials

17.09.2019 | Materials Sciences

Novel anti-cancer nanomedicine for efficient chemotherapy

17.09.2019 | Health and Medicine

Fungicides as an underestimated hazard for freshwater organisms

17.09.2019 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>