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Nat Nanotechnol. 2014 May;9(5):337-42. doi: 10.1038/nnano.2014.52. Epub 2014 Apr 13.

Observation of the magnetic flux and three-dimensional structure of skyrmion lattices by electron holography.

Author information

1
1] RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science (CEMS), 2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama 351-0198, Japan [2].
2
RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science (CEMS), 2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama 351-0198, Japan.
3
Central Research Laboratory, Hitachi Ltd, 2520 Akanuma, Hatoyama-machi, Hiki-gun, Hatoyama, Saitama 350-0395, Japan.
4
Japan Science and Technology Agency, 4-1-8, Honcho, Kawaguchi-shi, Saitama 332-0012, Japan.
5
Department of Applied Physics and Quantum-Phase Electronics Center (QPEC), University of Tokyo, 7-3-1, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan.
6
Department of Basic Science, University of Tokyo, 3-8-1 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8902, Japan.
7
1] RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science (CEMS), 2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama 351-0198, Japan [2] Interdisciplinary Materials Research for Advanced Materials, Tohoku University, 1-1-2-chome, Katahira, Aoba-ku, Sendai 332-0012, Japan.
8
1] Central Research Laboratory, Hitachi Ltd, 2520 Akanuma, Hatoyama-machi, Hiki-gun, Hatoyama, Saitama 350-0395, Japan [2].
9
1] RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science (CEMS), 2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama 351-0198, Japan [2] Department of Applied Physics and Quantum-Phase Electronics Center (QPEC), University of Tokyo, 7-3-1, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan.

Abstract

Skyrmions are nanoscale spin textures that are viewed as promising candidates as information carriers in future spintronic devices. Skyrmions have been observed using neutron scattering and microscopy techniques. Real-space imaging using electrons is a straightforward way to interpret spin configurations by detecting the phase shifts due to electromagnetic fields. Here, we report the first observation by electron holography of the magnetic flux and the three-dimensional spin configuration of a skyrmion lattice in Fe(0.5)Co(0.5)Si thin samples. The magnetic flux inside and outside a skyrmion was directly visualized and the handedness of the magnetic flux flow was found to be dependent on the direction of the applied magnetic field. The electron phase shifts φ in the helical and skyrmion phases were determined using samples with a stepped thickness t (from 55 nm to 510 nm), revealing a linear relationship (φ = 0.00173 t). The phase measurements were used to estimate the three-dimensional structures of both the helical and skyrmion phases, demonstrating that electron holography is a useful tool for studying complex magnetic structures and for three-dimensional, real-space mapping of magnetic fields.

PMID:
24727689
DOI:
10.1038/nnano.2014.52

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