9 March 2017

Room-temperature helimagnetism in FeGe thin films

Chiral magnets are promising materials for the realisation of high-density and low-power spintronic memory devices. For these future applications, a key requirement is the synthesis of appropriate materials in the form of thin films ordering well above room temperature. Driven by the Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction, the cubic compound FeGe exhibits helimagnetism with a relatively high transition temperature of 278 K in bulk crystals. We demonstrate that this temperature can be enhanced significantly in thin films. Using x-ray scattering and ferromagnetic resonance techniques, we provide unambiguous experimental evidence for long-wavelength helimagnetic order at room temperature and magnetic properties similar to the bulk material. We obtain αintr = 0.0036±0.0003 at 310K for the intrinsic damping parameter. We probe the dynamics of the system by means of muon-spin rotation, indicating that the ground state is reached via a freezing out of slow dynamics. Our work paves the way towards the fabrication of thin films of chiral magnets that host certain spin whirls, so-called skyrmions, at room temperature and potentially offer integrability into modern electronics.
Facility: SμS

Reference: S.L. Zhang et al, Scientific Reports 7, 123 (2017)

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