Skyrmion battery effect via inhomogeneous magnetic anisotropy
Applied Physics Reviews
Magnetic skyrmions are considered a promising candidate for the next-generation information processing technology. Being topologically robust, magnetic skyrmions are swirling spin textures that can be used in a broad range of applications from memory devices and logic circuits to neuromorphic computing. In a magnetic medium lacking inversion symmetry, magnetic skyrmion arises as a result of the interplay among magnetic exchange interaction, Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction, and magnetic anisotropy. Instrumental to the integrated skyrmion-based applications are the creation and manipulation of magnetic skyrmions at a designated location, absent any need of a magnetic field. In this paper, we propose a generic design strategy to achieve that goal and a model system to demonstrate its feasibility. By implementing a disk-shaped thin film heterostructure with an inhomogeneous perpendicular magnetic anisotropy, stable sub-100-nm size skyrmions can be generated without magnetic field. This structure can be etched out via, for example, focused ion beam microscope. Using micromagnetic simulation, we show that such heterostructure not only stabilizes the edge spins of the skyrmion but also protects its rotation symmetry. Furthermore, we may switch the spin texture between skyrmionic and vortex-like ones by tuning the slope of perpendicular anisotropy using a bias voltage. When embedded into a magnetic conductor and under a spin polarized current, such heterostructure emits skyrmions continuously and may function as a skyrmion source. This unique phenomenon is dubbed a skyrmion battery effect. Our proposal may open a novel venue for the realization of all-electric skyrmion-based devices.
Open Access Status
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National Natural Science Foundation of China