Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Discovery of a new magnetic order

Date:
July 31, 2011
Source:
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Summary:
Physicists have discovered a regular lattice of stable magnetic skyrmions -- radial spiral structures made up of atomic-scale spins -- on a surface instead of in bulk materials. Such tiny formations could one day form the basis of a new generation of smaller and more efficient data storage units in the field of information technology.

Physicists at Forschungszentrum Jülich and the universities of Kiel and Hamburg are the first to discover a regular lattice of stable magnetic skyrmions -- radial spiral structures made up of atomic-scale spins -- on a surface instead of in bulk materials. Such tiny formations could one day form the basis of a new generation of smaller and more efficient data storage units in the field of information technology. The scientists discovered the magnetic spirals, each made up of just 15 atoms, in a one-atomic-layer of iron on iridium.

Related Articles


They present their results in the current issue of the scientific journal Nature Physics.

The existence of magnetic skyrmions was already predicted over 20 years ago, but was first proven experimentally in 2009; a group of research scientists from the Technische Universität München (TUM) had identified lattices of magnetic vortices in manganese silicon in a weak magnetic field. Unlike these structures, the ones now discovered by physicists at Jülich, Kiel and Hamburg exist without an external magnetic field and are located on the surface of the materials examined, instead of inside them. Their diameter amounts to just a few atoms, making them at least one order of magnitude smaller than the skyrmions which have been identified to date.

"The magnetically-stable entities that we have discovered behave like particles and arrange themselves like atoms in a two-dimensional lattice," explains Prof. Stefan Blügel, Director at the Peter Grünberg Institute and the Institute for Advanced Simulation in Jülich. "This discovery is for us a dream come true." Already in 2007, the same scientific team had discovered a new type of magnetic order in a thin manganese film on tungsten and demonstrated the critical significance of the so-called Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction for the formation of its wave-like structure. The same interaction is also necessary for the formation of the spiral-shaped skyrmions.

The scientists did not discover the skyrmion lattice at first attempt. Originally, they wanted to prepare a one-atomic layer of chromium on iridium, in order to investigate the presumed existence of a different magnetic state. As the experiments were unsuccessful, they then tried with other metals. Using spin-polarized scanning tunnelling microscopy in studies of iron on iridium at the University of Hamburg, the researchers noticed regular magnetic patterns that were not consistent with the crystalline structure of the metal surface. "We were sure straightaway that we had discovered skyrmions," says Blügel. Intricate calculations undertaken by the Jülich supercomputers subsequently proved him right.

The result is a model describing the formation of the spin alignment through a complex interplay of three interactions: the chiral Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction, the conventional interaction between spins plus a non-linear interaction involving four spins. The model should help, in the future, to selectively influence magnetic structures on surfaces. "We are now planning to investigate the effect of electricity on skyrmions; how do the electron spins of an electric current "ride" the spirals, how do they influence resistance and how are the spirals affected?," says Blügel.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Stefan Heinze, Kirsten von Bergmann, Matthias Menzel, Jens Brede, André Kubetzka, Roland Wiesendanger, Gustav Bihlmayer, Stefan Blügel. Spontaneous atomic-scale magnetic skyrmion lattice in two dimensions. Nature Physics, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/NPHYS2045

Cite This Page:

Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "Discovery of a new magnetic order." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110731165937.htm>.
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. (2011, July 31). Discovery of a new magnetic order. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110731165937.htm
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "Discovery of a new magnetic order." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110731165937.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) — IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) — A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) — Brave Robotics and Asratec teamed with original Transformers toy company Tomy to create a functional 5-foot-tall humanoid robot that can march and fold itself into a 3-foot-long sports car. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Police Testing New Gunfire Tracking Technology

Police Testing New Gunfire Tracking Technology

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) — A California-based startup has designed new law enforcement technology that aims to automatically alert dispatch when an officer's gun is unholstered and fired. Two law enforcement agencies are currently testing the technology. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

More Coverage


Lattice of Magnetic Vortices: Researchers Find Magnetic Skyrmions in Atomically Thin Metal Film

Aug. 1, 2011 — Physicists in Germany have found for the first time a regular lattice of magnetic skyrmions -- cycloidal vortex spin structures of exceptional stability -- on a surface. The researchers discovered ... read more

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins