8 August 2017

Equilibrium Skyrmion Lattice Ground State in a Polar Easy-plane Magnet

The skyrmion lattice state (SkL), a crystal built of mesoscopic spin vortices, gains its stability via thermal fluctuations in all bulk skyrmion host materials known to date. Therefore, its existence is limited to a narrow temperature region below the paramagnetic state. This stability range can drastically increase in systems with restricted geometries, such as thin films, interfaces and nanowires. Thermal quenching can also promote the SkL as a metastable state over extended temperature ranges. Here, we demonstrate more generally that a proper choice of material parameters alone guarantees the thermodynamic stability of the SkL over the full temperature range below the paramagnetic state down to zero kelvin. We found that GaV4Se8, a polar magnet with easy-plane anisotropy, hosts a robust Néel-type SkL even in its ground state. Our supporting theory confirms that polar magnets with weak uniaxial anisotropy are ideal candidates to realize SkLs with wide stability ranges.
Reference: S. Bordács et al, Scientific Reports 7, 7584 (2017)

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