Interplay between topological and thermodynamic stability in a metastable magnetic skyrmion lattice

Hiroshi Oike, Akiko Kikkawa, Naoya Kanazawa, Yasujiro Taguchi, Masashi Kawasaki, Yoshinori Tokura, Fumitaka Kagawa
2015 Nature Physics  
Topologically stable matters can have a long lifetime, even if thermodynamically costly, when the thermal agitation is sufficiently low. A magnetic skyrmion lattice (SkL) represents a unique form of long-range magnetic order that is topologically stable, and therefore, a long-lived, metastable SkL can form. Experimental observations of the SkL in bulk crystals, however, have mostly been limited to a finite and narrow temperature region in which the SkL is thermodynamically stable; thus, the
more » ... fits of the topological stability remain unclear. Here, we report a metastable SkL created by quenching a thermodynamically stable SkL. Hall-resistivity measurements of MnSi reveal that, although the metastable SkL is short-lived at high temperatures, the lifetime becomes prolonged (>> 1 week) at low temperatures. The manipulation of a delicate balance between thermal agitation and the topological stability enables a deterministic creation/annihilation of the metastable SkL by exploiting electric heating and subsequent rapid cooling, thus establishing a facile method to control the formation of a SkL.
doi:10.1038/nphys3506 fatcat:gbd2la2bxvg3beu6zr6wkg4lwu