Sub-100-nm skyrmions are stabilized in magnetic metallic multilayers and observed using transmission electron microscopy, magnetic force microscopy, scanning transmission X-ray microscopy and X-ray resonant magnetic scattering. All these advanced imaging techniques demonstrate the presence of 'pure' Neel skyrmion textures with a determined chirality. Combining these observations with electrical measurements allows us to demonstrate reproducible skyrmion nucleation using current pulses, and measure their contribution to the transverse resistivity to detect them electrically. Once nucleated, skyrmions can be moved using charge currents. We find predominantly a creep-like regime, characterized by disordered skyrmion motion, as observed by atomic force microscopy and scanning transmission X-ray microscopy. These observations are explained qualitatively and to some extent quantitatively by the presence of crystalline grains of about 20nm lateral size with a distribution of magnetic properties.
Nicolas Reyren, Karim Bouzehouane, Jean-Yves Chauleau, Sophie Collin, Albert Fert, Simone Finizio, Karin Garcia, Sean Hughes, Nicolas Jaouen, William Legrand, Davide Maccariello, Samuel McFadzean, Stephen McVitie, Christoforos Moutafis, Horia Popescu, Jörg Raabe, C. A. F. Vaz, and Vincent Cros, "Skyrmions in magnetic multilayers: chirality, electrical detection and current-induced motion," Proc. SPIE 10357, Spintronics X, 1035724 (Presented at SPIE Nanoscience + Engineering: August 09, 2017; Published: 6 September 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2275058.
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