Precipitating ordered skyrmion lattices from helical spaghetti and granular powders

Dustin A. Gilbert, Alexander J. Grutter, Paul M. Neves, Guo Jiun Shu, Gergely Zimanyi, Brian B. Maranville, Fang Cheng Chou, Kathryn Krycka, Nicholas P. Butch, Sunxiang Huang, Julie A. Borchers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Magnetic skyrmions have been the focus of intense research due to their potential applications in ultrahigh-density data and logic technologies, as well as for the unique physics arising from their antisymmetric exchange term and topological protections. In this work we prepare a chiral jammed state in chemically disordered (Fe, Co)Si consisting of a combination of randomly oriented magnetic helices, labyrinth domains, rotationally disordered skyrmion lattices, and/or isolated skyrmions. Using small angle neutron scattering, we demonstrate a symmetry-breaking magnetic field sequence which disentangles the jammed state, resulting in an ordered, oriented skyrmion lattice. The same field sequence was performed on a sample of powdered Cu2OSeO3 and again yields an ordered, oriented skyrmion lattice, despite the relatively noninteracting nature of the grains. Micromagnetic simulations confirm the promotion of a preferred skyrmion lattice orientation after field treatment, independent of the initial configuration, suggesting this effect may be universally applicable. Energetics extracted from the simulations suggests that approaching a magnetic hard axis causes the moments to diverge away from the magnetic field, increasing the Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya energy, followed subsequently by a lattice reorientation. The ability to facilitate an emergent ordered magnetic lattice with long-range orientation in a variety of materials despite overwhelming internal disorder enables the study of skyrmions even in imperfect powdered or polycrystalline systems and greatly improves the ability to rapidly screen candidate skyrmion materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number014408
JournalPhysical Review Materials
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 15 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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