Large Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction induced by chemisorbed oxygen on a ferromagnet surface

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Science Advances  14 Aug 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 33, eaba4924
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba4924


The Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction (DMI) is an antisymmetric exchange interaction that stabilizes chiral spin textures. It is induced by inversion symmetry breaking in noncentrosymmetric lattices or at interfaces. Recently, interfacial DMI has been found in magnetic layers adjacent to transition metals due to the spin-orbit coupling and at interfaces with graphene due to the Rashba effect. We report direct observation of strong DMI induced by chemisorption of oxygen on a ferromagnetic layer at room temperature. The sign of this DMI and its unexpectedly large magnitude—despite the low atomic number of oxygen—are derived by examining the oxygen coverage–dependent evolution of magnetic chirality. We find that DMI at the oxygen/ferromagnet interface is comparable to those at ferromagnet/transition metal interfaces; it has enabled direct tailoring of skyrmion’s winding number at room temperature via oxygen chemisorption. This result extends the understanding of the DMI, opening up opportunities for the chemisorption-related design of spin-orbitronic devices.

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