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Electric-Field-Driven Topological Phase Switching and Skyrmion-Lattice Metastability in Magnetoelectric Cu2OSeO3

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author White J.S., Živković I., Kruchkov A.J., Bartkowiak M., Magrez A., Rønnow H.M.,
Project Exploration of emerging magnetoelectric coupling effects in new materials
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Phys. Rev. Applied
Volume (Issue) 10
Page(s) 014021
Title of proceedings Phys. Rev. Applied
DOI 10.1103/physrevapplied.10.014021

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


Due to their topological protection and nanometric size, magnetic skyrmions are anticipated to form components of new high-density memory technologies. In metallic systems, skyrmion manipulation is achieved easily under a low-density electric current flow, although the inevitable thermal dissipation ultimately limits the energy efficacy of potential applications. On the other hand, a near dissipation-free skyrmion and skyrmion phase manipulation is expected by using electric fields; thus meeting better the demands of an energy-conscious society. In this work on an insulating chiral magnet Cu2OSeO3 with magnetoelectric coupling, we use neutron scattering to demonstrate directly (i) the creation of metastable skyrmion states over an extended range in magnetic field and temperature (T), and (ii) the in situ electric-field-driven switching between topologically distinct phases; the skyrmion phase and a competing nontopological cone phase. For our accessible electric-field range, the phase switching is achieved in a high-temperature regime, and the remnant (E=0) metastable skyrmion state is thermally volatile with an exponential lifetime on hour timescales. Nevertheless, by taking advantage of the demonstrably longer-lived metastable skyrmion states at lower temperatures, a truly nonvolatile and near dissipation-free topological phase change memory function is promised in magnetoelectric chiral magnets.