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Skyrmion fluctuations at a first-order phase transition boundary

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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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