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Nat Commun. 2015 Mar 23;6:6598. doi: 10.1038/ncomms7598.

Unlocking Bloch-type chirality in ultrathin magnets through uniaxial strain.

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NCEM, Molecular Foundry, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.
Department of Physics, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 130-701, Korea.
Department of Physics, State Key Laboratory of Surface Physics and Collaborative Innovation Center of Advanced Microstructures, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, People's Republic of China.
Department of Physics, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.


Chiral magnetic domain walls are of great interest because lifting the energetic degeneracy of left- and right-handed spin textures in magnetic domain walls enables fast current-driven domain wall propagation. Although two types of magnetic domain walls are known to exist in magnetic thin films, Bloch- and Néel-walls, up to now the stabilization of homochirality was restricted to Néel-type domain walls. Since the driving mechanism of thin-film magnetic chirality, the interfacial Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction, is thought to vanish in Bloch-type walls, homochiral Bloch walls have remained elusive. Here we use real-space imaging of the spin texture in iron/nickel bilayers on tungsten to show that chiral domain walls of mixed Bloch-type and Néel-type can indeed be stabilized by adding uniaxial strain in the presence of interfacial Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction. Our findings introduce Bloch-type chirality as a new spin texture, which may open up new opportunities to design spin-orbitronics devices.


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