Observation of stable Néel skyrmions in cobalt/palladium multilayers with Lorentz transmission electron microscopy
Néel skyrmions are of high interest due to their potential applications in a variety of spintronic devices, currently accessible in ultrathin heavy metal/ferromagnetic bilayers and multilayers with a strong Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction. Here we report on the direct imaging of chiral spin structures including skyrmions in an exchange-coupled cobalt/palladium multilayer at room temperature with Lorentz transmission electron microscopy, a high-resolution technique previously suggested to exhibit no Néel skyrmion contrast. Phase retrieval methods allow us to map the internal spin structure of the skyrmion core, identifying a 25 nm central region of uniform magnetization followed by a larger region characterized by rotation from in- to out-of-plane. The formation and resolution of the internal spin structure of room temperature skyrmions without a stabilizing out-of-plane field in thick magnetic multilayers opens up a new set of tools and materials to study the physics and device applications associated with chiral ordering and skyrmions.
Pollard, S., Garlow, J., Yu, J., Wang, Z., Zhu, Y., & Yang, H. (2017). Observation of stable Néel skyrmions in cobalt/palladium multilayers with Lorentz transmission electron microscopy. Nature Communications, 8 https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms14761