OBSERVATION OF CORRELATED DISPLACEMENT OF VORTEX-ANTIVORTEX PAIRS IN MAGNETIC TRILAYERS

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Researchers from the University of Oviedo, the University of Porto and the ALBA Synchrotron have visualized with synchrotron light the motion of vortex-antivortex pairs along strip magnetic domains in magnetic structures, what represents an interesting discovery that could have applications for memory and logic devices.

Spintronics exploits the intrinsic spins of electrons and their resulting magnetic properties in materials, as well as the electrons electrical charge, to store and process information. Magnetic defects and magnetic singularities inside uniform magnetic textures are considered valid candidates for transporting information since in many cases their intrinsic characteristics, which are determined by their so-called topological properties, make them robust against external perturbations. A magnetic vortex (V) is one of the most studied singularities. It can be visualized as a typhoon in the atmosphere that can walk long distances without being perturbed by buildings or trees. In magnetism, instead of air, the magnetization is rotating. An antivortex (AV) is another singularity that if it collides with a vortex results in a mutual annihilation.

A group of researchers from the University of Oviedo, University of Porto (Portugal) together with ALBA scientists have been carrying research at the MISTRAL beamline during the last years and have recently found an interesting result concerning the correlated motion of V-AV pairs along strip magnetic domains in magnetic structures.

The magnetic structures were thin layers (50-100 nm) of magnetic materials that were displayed in equilibrium magnetic stripes as depicted in the figure below. An interesting aspect of this study is that the magnetic stripes, that act as roads for transporting V and AV, are self-organized and can be oriented at any direction or can be erased at will. As it can be seen in the lower panel, the V-AV pair moves in a correlated way for more than 3 µm which is a relatively large distance in nanomagnetic devices. In addition, the sense of motion of the V-AV pair (towards right or left) is completely determined by the topology of the bifurcation.

The finding is a robust effect that might have practical applications as this V-AV motion could increase the efficiency in controlling magnetic memory and logic devices.

Reference: A. Hierro-Rodriguez et al. Appl. Phys. Lett. 110, 262402 (2017); doi: 10.1063/1.4984898

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