Robust metastable skyrmions and their triangular-square lattice structural transition in a high-temperature chiral magnet

Skyrmions, topologically protected nanometric spin vortices, are being investigated extensively in various magnets(1-11). Among them, many structurally chiral cubic magnets host the triangular-lattice skyrmion crystal (SkX) as the thermodynamic equilibrium state. However, this state exists only in a narrow temperature and magnetic-field region just below the magnetic transition temperature T-c, while a helical or conical magnetic state prevails at lower temperatures. Here we describe that for a room-temperature skyrmion material(12), beta-Mn-type Co8Zn8Mn4, a field-cooling via the equilibrium SkX state can suppress the transition to the helical or conical state, instead realizing robust metastable SkX states that survive over a very wide temperature and magnetic-field region. Furthermore, the lattice form of the metastable SkX is found to undergo reversible transitions between a conventional triangular lattice and a novel square lattice upon varying the temperature and magnetic field. These findings exemplify the topological robustness of the once-created skyrmions, and establish metastable skyrmion phases as a fertile ground for technological applications.

Published in:
Nature Materials, 15, 12, 1237-1242
London, Nature Publishing Group

 Record created 2017-01-24, last modified 2019-04-16

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