Research ArticlePHYSICS

Hybrid chiral domain walls and skyrmions in magnetic multilayers

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Science Advances  20 Jul 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 7, eaat0415
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat0415


Noncollinear spin textures in ferromagnetic ultrathin films are currently the subject of renewed interest since the discovery of the interfacial Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction (DMI). This antisymmetric exchange interaction selects a given chirality for the spin textures and allows stabilizing configurations with nontrivial topology including chiral domain walls (DWs) and magnetic skyrmions. Moreover, it has many crucial consequences on the dynamical properties of these topological structures. In recent years, the study of noncollinear spin textures has been extended from single ultrathin layers to magnetic multilayers with broken inversion symmetry. This extension of the structures in the vertical dimension allows room temperature stability and very efficient current-induced motion for both Néel DWs and skyrmions. We show how, in these multilayered systems, the interlayer interactions can actually lead to hybrid chiral magnetization arrangements. The described thickness-dependent reorientation of DWs is experimentally confirmed by studying demagnetized multilayers through circular dichroism in x-ray resonant magnetic scattering. We also demonstrate a simple yet reliable method for determining the magnitude of the DMI from static domain measurements even in the presence of these hybrid chiral structures by taking into account the actual profile of the DWs. The existence of these novel hybrid chiral textures has far-reaching implications on how to stabilize and manipulate DWs, as well as skymionic structures in magnetic multilayers.

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