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Science. 2013 Aug 9;341(6146):636-9. doi: 10.1126/science.1240573.

Writing and deleting single magnetic skyrmions.

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Institute of Applied Physics, University of Hamburg, D-20355 Hamburg, Germany.


Topologically nontrivial spin textures have recently been investigated for spintronic applications. Here, we report on an ultrathin magnetic film in which individual skyrmions can be written and deleted in a controlled fashion with local spin-polarized currents from a scanning tunneling microscope. An external magnetic field is used to tune the energy landscape, and the temperature is adjusted to prevent thermally activated switching between topologically distinct states. Switching rate and direction can then be controlled by the parameters used for current injection. The creation and annihilation of individual magnetic skyrmions demonstrates the potential for topological charge in future information-storage concepts.

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