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Engineering helimagnetism in MnSi thin films

DOI: 10.1063/1.4941316 DOI Help

Authors: S. L. Zhang (University of Oxford) , R. Chalasani (Tel Aviv University) , A. A. Baker (Diamond Light Source) , N. J. Steinke (ISIS) , A. I. Figueroa-garcia (Diamond Light Source) , A. Kohn (Tel Aviv University) , G. Van Der Laan (Diamond Light Source) , T. Hesjedal (University of Oxford; Diamond Light Source)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: AIP Advances , VOL 6 , PAGES 015217

State: Published (Approved)
Published: January 2016
Diamond Proposal Number(s): 9234

Open Access Open Access

Abstract: Magnetic skyrmion materials have the great advantage of a robust topological magnetic structure, which makes them stable against the superparamagnetic effect and therefore a candidate for the next-generation of spintronic memory devices. Bulk MnSi, with an ordering temperature of 29.5 K, is a typical skyrmion system with a propagation vector periodicity of ∼18 nm. One crucial prerequisite for any kind of application, however, is the observation and precise control of skyrmions in thin films at room-temperature. Strain in epitaxial MnSi thin films is known to raise the transition temperature to 43 K. Here we show, using magnetometry and x-ray spectroscopy, that the transition temperature can be raised further through proximity coupling to a ferromagnetic layer. Similarly, the external field required to stabilize the helimagnetic phase is lowered. Transmission electron microscopy with element-sensitive detection is used to explore the structural origin of ferromagnetism in these Mn-doped substrates. Our work suggests that an artificial pinning layer, not limited to the MnSi/Si system, may enable room temperature, zero-field skyrmion thin-film systems, thereby opening the door to device applications.

Journal Keywords: XMCD, magnetism, skyrmions

Subject Areas: Physics, Materials, Information and Communication Technology


Instruments: I10-Beamline for Advanced Dichroism