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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Skyrmion fluctuations at a first-order phase transition boundary

  • Author(s): Esposito, V
  • Zheng, XY
  • Seaberg, MH
  • Montoya, SA
  • Holladay, B
  • Reid, AH
  • Streubel, R
  • Lee, JCT
  • Shen, L
  • Koralek, JD
  • Coslovich, G
  • Walter, P
  • Zohar, S
  • Thampy, V
  • Lin, MF
  • Hart, P
  • Nakahara, K
  • Fischer, P
  • Colocho, W
  • Lutman, A
  • Decker, FJ
  • Sinha, SK
  • Fullerton, EE
  • Kevan, SD
  • Roy, S
  • Dunne, M
  • Turner, JJ
  • et al.

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Magnetic skyrmions are topologically protected spin textures with promising prospects for applications in data storage. They can form a lattice state due to competing magnetic interactions and are commonly found in a small region of the temperature - magnetic field phase diagram. Recent work has demonstrated that these magnetic quasi-particles fluctuate at the μeV energy scale. Here, we use a coherent x-ray correlation method at an x-ray free-electron laser to investigate these fluctuations in a magnetic phase coexistence region near a first-order transition boundary where fluctuations are not expected to play a major role. Surprisingly, we find that the relaxation of the intermediate scattering function at this transition differs significantly compared to that deep in the skyrmion lattice phase. The observation of a compressed exponential behavior suggests solid-like dynamics, often associated with jamming. We assign this behavior to disorder and the phase coexistence observed in a narrow field-window near the transition, which can cause fluctuations that lead to glassy behavior.

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