Reorientations, relaxations, metastabilities, and multidomains of skyrmion lattices

More Info


Magnetic skyrmions are nanosized topologically protected spin textures with particlelike properties. They can form lattices perpendicular to the magnetic field, and the orientation of these skyrmion lattices with respect to the crystallographic lattice is governed by spin-orbit coupling. By performing small-angle neutron scattering measurements, we investigate the coupling between the crystallographic and skyrmion lattices in both Cu2OSeO3 and the archetype chiral magnet MnSi. The results reveal that the orientation of the skyrmion lattice is primarily determined by the magnetic field direction with respect to the crystallographic lattice. In addition, it is also influenced by the magnetic history of the sample, which can induce metastable lattices. Kinetic measurements show that these metastable skyrmion lattices may or may not relax to their equilibrium positions under macroscopic relaxation times. Furthermore, multidomain lattices may form when two or more equivalent crystallographic directions are favored by spin-orbit coupling and oriented perpendicular to the magnetic field.