Observation by SANS and PNR of pure Néel-type domain wall profiles and skyrmion suppression below room temperature in magnetic [Pt/CoFeB/Ru]10 multilayers

We report investigations of the magnetic textures in periodic multilayers [Pt(1 nm)/(CoFeB(0.8 nm)/Ru(1.4 nm)]10 using polarised neutron reflectometry (PNR) and small-angle neutron scattering (SANS). The multilayers are known to host skyrmions stabilized by Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interactions induced by broken inversion symmetry and spin–orbit coupling at the asymmetric interfaces. From depth-dependent PNR measurements, we observed well-defined structural features and obtained the layer-resolved magnetization profiles. The in-plane magnetization of the CoFeB layers calculated from fitting of the PNR profiles is found to be in excellent agreement with magnetometry data. Using SANS as a bulk probe of the entire multilayer, we observe long-period magnetic stripe domains and skyrmion ensembles with full orientational disorder at room temperature. 

No sign of skyrmions is found below 250 K, which we suggest is due to an increase of an effective magnetic anisotropy in the CoFeB layer on cooling that suppresses skyrmion stability. Using polarised SANS at room temperature, we prove the existence of pure Néel-type windings in both stripe domain and skyrmion regimes. No Bloch-type winding admixture, i.e. an indication for hybrid windings, is detected within the measurement sensitivity, in good agreement with expectations according to our micromagnetic modelling of the multilayers. Our findings using neutron techniques provide valuable microscopic insights into the rich magnetic behavior of skyrmion-hosting multilayers, which are essential for the advancement of future skyrmion-based spintronic devices.

Reference: V. Ukleev et al, Science and Technology of Advanced Materials 25 (2024)

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