Local control of magnetic interface effects in chiral Ir|Co|Pt multilayers using Ga+ ion irradiation

Mark C.H. de Jong (Corresponding author), Mariëlle J. Meijer, Juriaan Lucassen, Jos van Liempt, Henk J.M. Swagten, Bert Koopmans, Reinoud Lavrijsen

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Skyrmions are topologically protected chiral spin textures that have shown promise as data carriers in future spintronic applications. They can be stabilized by the interfacial Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction (iDMI) in material systems with inversion asymmetry and spin-orbit coupling, such as Ir$|$Co$|$Pt multilayers. The ability to locally tune such interface interactions, and hence the skyrmion energy, could greatly enhance the nucleation and control of skyrmions in racetrack type devices. In this work, we investigate local tuning of the iDMI and perpendicular magnetic anisotropy (PMA) using focussed Ga$^{+}$ ion beam irradiation, in an Ir$|$Co$|$Pt multilayer system. We show that the magnitude of the interface contribution to both effects can be significantly reduced by the irradiation with Ga$^{+}$ ions. This leads to a reduction by a factor two of the domain wall energy density, while still preserving the N\'{e}el character of the domain walls. Hence, we postulate that Ga$^{+}$ ion irradiation is an effective way to locally reduce the energy barrier for skyrmion nucleation, providing a novel pathway for targeted skyrmion nucleation in racetrack type devices.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2110.01424
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2021


  • cond-mat.mes-hall


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