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Physical foundations and basic properties of magnetic skyrmions

Abstract

Magnetic skyrmions (or vortices) are spatially inhomogeneous spin textures localized in nanoscale cylindrical regions. Their small size and unique stability make skyrmions attractive for the study of spin topology and technologies wherein information is carried by the electron spin in addition to, or instead of, the electron charge. Despite advances in the synthesis of materials in which axisymmetric magnetic skyrmions can be stabilized and characterized, there has been relatively slow progress in elucidating the basic properties. This Perspective aims to bridge this gap by delivering a brief, accessible guide to the physical principles governing magnetic skyrmions.

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Fig. 1: Magnetic skyrmions.
Fig. 2: Isolated skyrmions in the saturated state.
Fig. 3: Evolution of skyrmion lattices in an applied magnetic field.

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Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge A. Fert and R. Wiesendanger for discussions. A.N.B. thanks M. Ochi and K. Inoue for hospitality and collaboration during his stay at Hiroshima University. This work was supported in Germany by the Deutscher Forschungsgemeinschaft through SPP2137 ‘Skyrmionics’, and in Singapore by the Ministry of Education (MOE), under its MOE AcRF Tier 3 Award MOE2018-T3-1-002, and the National Research Foundation (NRF) Singapore under NRF Investigatorship (no. NRF-NRFI2015-04).

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Correspondence to Christos Panagopoulos.

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Bogdanov, A.N., Panagopoulos, C. Physical foundations and basic properties of magnetic skyrmions. Nat Rev Phys 2, 492–498 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s42254-020-0203-7

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