An interesting class of interface-driven non-collinear spin structures, i.e., chiral domain walls, cycloidal spin spirals and Néel-type skyrmions, have been observed in ultrathin transition metal films grown on heavy-element substrates making use of spin-polarized scanning tunneling microscopy (SP-STM) . Due to a lack of structural inversion symmetry at interfaces, they exhibit a unique rotational sense as a consequence of interfacial Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya (DM) interactions. In this talk, I will present our results based on the investigations of such chiral spin textures under the influence of strain relief and the effect of local electric fields. While a nanoskyrmion lattice was revealed for Fe monolayers (ML) grown on Ir(111), a cycloidal spin spiral ground state has been resolved on Fe double-layers (DL) by employing SP-STM with vectorial magnetic field. As a result of a large lattice mismatch between the epitaxially grown Fe-DL film and the underlying Ir(111) substrate, local uniaxial strain relief occurs, leading to dislocation line patterns. Interestingly, the wavevector of spin spirals is strictly guided along the dislocation lines, while the spin spiral's wavefront exhibits a zigzag deformation . By further increasing the Fe coverage to triple-layers (TL), the zigzag spin spiral remains the magnetic ground state, but with an enhanced periodicity as compared to that of Fe-DL. A magnetic phase transition from the spin spiral to a skyrmionic state, and finally to a saturated ferromagnetic state occurs for Fe-TL by applying an external magnetic field. STM-induced writing and deleting of individual skyrmions is demonstrated with a pronounced bias-polarity dependence, suggesting the decisive role of the local electric field between STM tip and Fe film for the switching mechanism .
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