History-dependent domain and skyrmion formation in 2D van der Waals magnet Fe<sub>3</sub>GeTe<sub>2</sub>.
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Birch, M. T., Powalla, L., Wintz, S., Hovorka, O., Litzius, K., Loudon, J. C., Turnbull, L. A., et al. (2022). History-dependent domain and skyrmion formation in 2D van der Waals magnet Fe<sub>3</sub>GeTe<sub>2</sub>.. Nature communications, 13 (1) https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-022-30740-7
The discovery of two-dimensional magnets has initiated a new field of research, exploring both fundamental low-dimensional magnetism, and prospective spintronic applications. Recently, observations of magnetic skyrmions in the 2D ferromagnet Fe<sub>3</sub>GeTe<sub>2</sub> (FGT) have been reported, introducing further application possibilities. However, controlling the exhibited magnetic state requires systematic knowledge of the history-dependence of the spin textures, which remains largely unexplored in 2D magnets. In this work, we utilise real-space imaging, and complementary simulations, to determine and explain the thickness-dependent magnetic phase diagrams of an exfoliated FGT flake, revealing a complex, history-dependent emergence of the uniformly magnetised, stripe domain and skyrmion states. The results show that the interplay of the dominant dipolar interaction and strongly temperature dependent out-of-plane anisotropy energy terms enables the selective stabilisation of all three states at zero field, and at a single temperature, while the Dzyaloshinksii-Moriya interaction must be present to realise the observed Néel-type domain walls. The findings open perspectives for 2D devices incorporating topological spin textures.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-022-30740-7
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/338700
Attribution 4.0 International
Licence URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/