A twist in magnetism: skyrmions, 10,000 times thinner than a human hair, will help store quantum data

Skyrmions, 10 thousand times thinner than a human hair, will help store quantum data

The scientists discovered a unique strategy that could foster the formation of high-density data warehouses and quantum magnets for quantum informatics. They suggest that one should use the method of layering dissimilar crystals with atomic precision. Thus, it becomes possible to control the size of the created magnetic quasiparticles, which are called skyrmions. In all traditional typical ferromagnets, a single principle operates when the magnetic spins line up in a certain order up or down.

Skyrmions have a slightly different principle. They can twist and whirl, and thus create amazing unique shapes that scientists have compared to miniature porcupines and even small tornadoes.


Small interlaced structures, when examined in more detail, could be a new technology solution to help preserve high-density data, for which size is key and needs to be completely small. Oak Ridge Laboratory specialists are studying these possibilities within the framework of the National Project.

The researchers managed to obtain skyrmions, while they note their unprecedented small size, it is only ten nanometers, which is ten thousand times thinner than a human hair. A physicist Elizabeth Skoropata noted that the design and synthesis of a superlattice lead to the creation of atomic-scale magnetic interactions.

And these interactions, in turn, are responsible for spin twisting. The new discovery, made by the scientists, demonstrates the precision of interface design in oxide quantum heterostructures, which are important for the creation of nanosized skyrmions.


Reference: “Interfacial tuning of chiral magnetic interactions for large topological Hall effects in LaMnO3/SrIrO3 heterostructures” by Elizabeth Skoropata, John Nichols, Jong Mok Ok, Rajesh V. Chopdekar, Eun Sang Choi, Ankur Rastogi, Changhee Sohn, Xiang Gao, Sangmoon Yoon, Thomas Farmer, Ryan D. Desautels, Yongseong Choi, Daniel Haskel, John W. Freeland, Satoshi Okamoto, Matthew Brahlek and Ho Nyung Lee, 3 July 2020, Science Advances. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaz3902