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Tailoring magnetic energies to form dipole skyrmions and skyrmion lattices


The interesting physics and potential memory technologies resulting from topologically protected spin textures such as skyrmions have prompted efforts to discover new material systems that can host these kinds of magnetic structures. Here, we use the highly tunable magnetic properties of amorphous Fe/Gd multilayer films to explore the magnetic properties that lead to dipole-stabilized skyrmions and skyrmion lattices that form from the competition of dipolar field and exchange energy. Using both real space imaging and reciprocal space scattering techniques, we determined the range of material properties and magnetic fields where skyrmions form. Micromagnetic modeling closely matches our observation of small skyrmion features (∼50 to 70 nm) and suggests that these classes of skyrmions have a rich domain structure that is Bloch-like in the center of the film and more Néel-like towards each surface. Our results provide a pathway to engineer the formation and controllability of dipole skyrmion phases in a thin film geometry at different temperatures and magnetic fields.

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