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Source: Julich Research Center

For the first time, researchers have created antiferromagnetic skyrmions in which crucial building blocks are aligned in opposite directions. Detection was achieved using neutrons on the cold three-axis spectrometer PANDA, which the Jülich Center for Neutron Science operates at its branch at the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Zentrum (MLZ), as well as at two other neutron sources in Switzerland and France. The discovery, published in Nature, could make it possible to develop more efficient computers in the future.

Skyrmions are nano-structures: tiny eddies in the magnetic alignment of atoms. Now researchers at PSI in Switzerland have created so-called antiferromagnetic skyrmions for the first time. The decisive spins are aligned in opposite directions. Here is an artist’s rendering of this state. Copyright: Paul Scherrer Institute / Diego RosalesDr. Astrid Schneidewind heads the team at the PANDA instrument at the MLZ. She and her colleague Petr Cermak helped to detect the antiferromagnetic skyrmions with neutrons. Copyright: Wolfgang Filser / TUM Original publication: Fractional antiferromagnetic skyrmion lattice induced by anisotropic couplings. S. Gao, H.D. Rosales, F.A. Gómez Albarracín, V. Tsurkan, G. Kaur, T. Fennell, P. Steffens, M. Boehm, P. Čermák, A. Schneidewind, E. Ressouche, D.C. Cabra, C. Ruegg, O. Zaharko. Nature 23 September 2020 (online). DOI: 10.1038 / s41586-020-2716-8

Further information: Press release from the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Center on September 28, 2020 Press release from the Paul Scherrer Institute on September 23, 2020

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