Research ArticleMATERIALS SCIENCE

Skyrmion lattice structural transition in MnSi

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Science Advances  09 Jun 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 6, e1602562
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1602562

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Abstract

Magnetic skyrmions exhibit particle-like properties owing to the topology of their swirling spin texture, providing opportunities to study crystallization of topological particles. However, they mostly end up with a triangular lattice, and thus, the packing degree of freedom in the skyrmion particles has been overlooked so far. We report a structural transition of the skyrmion lattice in MnSi. By use of small-angle neutron scattering, we explore a metastable skyrmion state spreading over a wide temperature and magnetic field region, after thermal quenching. The quenched skyrmions undergo a triangular-to-square lattice transition with decreasing magnetic field at low temperatures. Our study suggests that various skyrmion lattices can emerge at low temperatures, where the skyrmions exhibit distinct topological nature and high sensitivity to the local magnetic anisotropy arising from the underlying chemical lattice.

Keywords
  • magnetic skyrmion
  • Small angle neutron scattering

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