Chirally coupled nanomagnets

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Science  29 Mar 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6434, pp. 1435-1439
DOI: 10.1126/science.aau7913

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Magnetic building blocks in two dimensions

Artificial magnetic structures can offer a variety of functionalities in spintronics devices. Luo et al. engineered magnetic domains in Pt/Co/AlOx trilayers that had alternating in-plane and out-of-plane magnetizations. The regions interacted laterally through the so-called Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction, which determined the relative sign and orientation of the magnetization in adjacent domains. Using the coupling between the domains, the researchers were able to engineer more-complex magnetic structures such as skyrmions and frustrated magnets.

Science, this issue p. 1435


Magnetically coupled nanomagnets have multiple applications in nonvolatile memories, logic gates, and sensors. The most effective couplings have been found to occur between the magnetic layers in a vertical stack. We achieved strong coupling of laterally adjacent nanomagnets using the interfacial Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction. This coupling is mediated by chiral domain walls between out-of-plane and in-plane magnetic regions and dominates the behavior of nanomagnets below a critical size. We used this concept to realize lateral exchange bias, field-free current-induced switching between multistate magnetic configurations as well as synthetic antiferromagnets, skyrmions, and artificial spin ices covering a broad range of length scales and topologies. Our work provides a platform to design arrays of correlated nanomagnets and to achieve all-electric control of planar logic gates and memory devices.

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