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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Artificial Double-Helix for Geometrical Control of Magnetic Chirality.

  • Author(s): Sanz-Hernández, Dédalo
  • Hierro-Rodriguez, Aurelio
  • Donnelly, Claire
  • Pablo-Navarro, Javier
  • Sorrentino, Andrea
  • Pereiro, Eva
  • Magén, César
  • McVitie, Stephen
  • de Teresa, José María
  • Ferrer, Salvador
  • Fischer, Peter
  • Fernández-Pacheco, Amalio
  • et al.
Abstract

Chirality plays a major role in nature, from particle physics to DNA, and its control is much sought-after due to the scientific and technological opportunities it unlocks. For magnetic materials, chiral interactions between spins promote the formation of sophisticated swirling magnetic states such as skyrmions, with rich topological properties and great potential for future technologies. Currently, chiral magnetism requires either a restricted group of natural materials or synthetic thin-film systems that exploit interfacial effects. Here, using state-of-the-art nanofabrication and magnetic X-ray microscopy, we demonstrate the imprinting of complex chiral spin states via three-dimensional geometric effects at the nanoscale. By balancing dipolar and exchange interactions in an artificial ferromagnetic double-helix nanostructure, we create magnetic domains and domain walls with a well-defined spin chirality, determined solely by the chiral geometry. We further demonstrate the ability to create confined 3D spin textures and topological defects by locally interfacing geometries of opposite chirality. The ability to create chiral spin textures via 3D nanopatterning alone enables exquisite control over the properties and location of complex topological magnetic states, of great importance for the development of future metamaterials and devices in which chirality provides enhanced functionality.

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