Kinetics of Magnetic Skyrmion Crystal Formation from the Conical Phase

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2021-06-29
Authors
Kim, Tae-Hoon
Zhao, Haijun
Ong, Phuong-Vu
Jensen, Brandt
Cui, Baozhi
Ke, Liqin
Zhou, Lin
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King, Alexander
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Ames National Laboratory

Ames National Laboratory is a government-owned, contractor-operated national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), operated by and located on the campus of Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

For more than 70 years, the Ames National Laboratory has successfully partnered with Iowa State University, and is unique among the 17 DOE laboratories in that it is physically located on the campus of a major research university. Many of the scientists and administrators at the Laboratory also hold faculty positions at the University and the Laboratory has access to both undergraduate and graduate student talent.

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Materials Science and Engineering

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering teaches the composition, microstructure, and processing of materials as well as their properties, uses, and performance. These fields of research utilize technologies in metals, ceramics, polymers, composites, and electronic materials.

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The Department of Materials Science and Engineering was formed in 1975 from the merger of the Department of Ceramics Engineering and the Department of Metallurgical Engineering.

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1975-present

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The particle-like magnetic skyrmion or skyrmion lattice (SkX) formation has promoted strong application and fundamental science interests. Despite extensive research, the kinetic of the SkX development is much less understood because of the ultrafast spin rotation and high sensitivity to external perturbations. Here, using in situ Lorentz transmission electron microscopy, we successfully measured the dynamics of SkX formation from the conical phase with precise control of both the temperature and the magnetic field. We discovered that the Avrami equation can accurately describe the transition process with an initial Avrami constant around 1, suggesting that the rate-limiting step for the quasiparticle lattice formation is one-dimensional heterogeneous nucleation of individual skyrmions. A modified Arrhenius rate law is established, with an energy barrier that has a square-root dependence on temperature and a quadratic dependence on the magnetic field. This study paves the way toward precise and predictable manipulation of topological spin structures.

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