Albert Fert, recipient of the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physics, gave a lecture a few days ago, titled novel directions for spintronics: spin-orbitronics and magnetic skyrmions:
German researchers have found for the first time a regular lattice of magnetic skyrmions (cycloidal vortex spin structures of exceptional stability) â on a surface. This fascinating magnetic structure was discovered by spin-polarized scanning tunneling microscopy and imaged on the atomic scale.
The magnetic skyrmion lattice discovered in Hamburg occurs in an atomically thin film on a surface. The interplay of various magnetic interactions is the cause for the occurrence of this complex structure. While the canting of atomic spins with a certain rotational sense is caused by the antisymmetric Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction, the skyrmions found here can only be induced by the so-called four-spin interaction with the participation of four magnetic atoms.