Date of this Version
Published in Nature Physics 18:8 (August 2022), pp. 853–854.
Experiments with chiral magnets may hold the key to a better understanding of fundamental aspects of transformations between different skyrmionic states, necessary for magnetic memory and logic applications to become a reality.
With the aim of developing computing devices that operate with low power dissipation, scientists have been pursuing the idea of encoding information in magnetic states. Specifically, skyrmions, which can be thought of as whirl-like states of magnetic moments, are promising candidates for this purpose. The advantage of skyrmions lies in their topological protection, a property implying that only a ‘global’ system modification can erase a skyrmion. Realizations of skyrmions and other topologically non-trivial magnetic textures1,2 such as antiskyrmions — skyrmions with mirror-reflected positions of magnetic moments — and interconversions between them may prove to be useful for magnetic-memory and logic applications. In this regard, researchers are trying to find suitable materials and experimental techniques for the design and manipulation of such magnetic textures. Now, writing in Nature Physics, Nikolai Kiselev and colleagues3 report the observation of a process in which skyrmions and antiskyrmions are annihilated and created while topological charge is conserved. These results are expected to drive further studies of various fundamental aspects and control possibilities of topological magnetic states.