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Generation and stability of structurally imprinted target skyrmions in magnetic multilayers

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Target Skyrmions (TSks) are extended topological spin textures with a constant chirality where the rotation of the z component of the magnetization is larger than π. TSks have topological charge 1 or 0, if the z component of the magnetization Mz goes through a rotation of nπwhere n is an odd or even integer, respectively. TSks with a rotation of the z component of up to 4πhave been imaged via high spatial resolution element-specific X-ray imaging. The TSks were generated by weakly coupling 30 nm thin Permalloy (Ni80Fe20, PY) disks with a 1 μm diameter to asymmetric (Ir 1 nm/Co 1.5 nm/Pt 1 nm) × 7 multilayers that exhibit Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction. The PY disks stabilize the TSks in the multilayers due to reduced stray field energy and enforced circular symmetry from pinning of domain walls at the edges of the disks. Upon applying external magnetic fields, it is the skyrmion core at the center that ensures stability of the TSk, whereas the collapse of the extended structures in the TSk does not depend on the topological charge.

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