Multiple-q noncollinear magnetism in an itinerant hexagonal magnet
Multiple-q spin order, i.e., a spin texture characterized by a multiple number of coexisting magnetic modulation vec- tors q, has recently attracted attention as a source of nontrivial magnetic topology and associated emergent phenome- na. One typical example is the triple-q skyrmion lattice state stabilized by Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interactions in noncentrosymmetric magnets, while the emergence of various multiple-q states of different origins is expected according to the latest theories. Here, we investigated the magnetic structure of the itinerant polar hexagonal magnet Y3Co8Sn4, in which several distinctive mechanisms favoring multiple-q states are allowed to become active. Small- angle neutron-scattering experiments suggest the formation of incommensurate triple-q magnetic order with an in- plane vortex-like spin texture, which can be most consistently explained in terms of the novel four-spin interaction mechanism inherent to itinerant magnets. The present results suggest a new route to realizing exotic multiple-q orders and that itinerant hexagonal magnets, including the R3M8Sn4 family with wide chemical tunability, can be a unique material platform to explore their rich phase diagrams.