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Argonne Scientists Announce First Room-Temperature Magnetic Skyrmion Bubbles

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Running a smaller electric current through the system makes the skyrmions move from the left side of this system to the right. :

Researchers have developed a new method for creating magnetic skyrmion bubbles at room temperature.

Credit: Argonne National Laboratory

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Argonne National Laboratory have developed a method for creating magnetic skyrmion bubbles at room temperature.

If a skyrmion is wrapped into a sphere, its magnetic fields would point away in all different directions, forcing them to stay intact. The researchers found they could coax skyrmions to move using electric currents, and hypothesized they could be used to represent 1s and 0s in computer memory.

"Our new method is the simplest way to generate skyrmion bubbles thus far," says Argonne researcher Wanjun Jiang.

The researchers built a geometric structure to blow the bubbles into shape in a very thin film, and they built a constricted wire out of a three-layered structure in which a tiny layer of magnetic material is sandwiched between tantalum and tantalum-oxide layers. When the researchers applied an electric current to the metal layers, stripes of magnetic domains stretched through the channel and broke into tiny spherical skyrmion bubbles on the other side.

"With this system, we can explore many of the theoretical ideas on skyrmion physics that have been proposed over the past few years," says Argonne researcher Suzanne G.E. te Velthuis.

From Argonne National Laboratory
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