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Application concepts for ultrafast laser-induced skyrmion creation and annihilation

Gerlinger, Kathinka; Pfau, Bastian; Büttner, Felix; Schneider, Michael; Kern, Lisa-Marie; Fuchs, Josefin; Engel, Dieter; Günther, Christian M.; Huang, Mantao; Lemesh, Ivan; Caretta, Lucas; Churikova, Alexandra; Hessing, Piet; Klose, Christopher; Strüber, Christian; Korff Schmising, Clemens von; Huang, Siying; Wittmann, Angela; Litzius, Kai; Metternich, Daniel; Battistelli, Riccardo; Bagschik, Kai; Sadovnikov, Alexandr; Beach, Geoffrey S. D.; Eisebitt, Stefan

Magnetic skyrmions can be created and annihilated in ferromagnetic multilayers using single femtosecond infrared laser pulses above a material-dependent fluence threshold. From the perspective of applications, optical control of skyrmions offers a route to a faster and, potentially, more energy-efficient new class of information-technology devices. Here, we investigate laser-induced skyrmion generation in two different materials, mapping out the dependence of the process on the applied field and the laser fluence. We observe that sample properties like strength of the Dzyaloshinskii–Moriya interaction and pinning do not considerably influence the initial step of optical creation. In contrast, the number of skyrmions created can be directly and robustly controlled via the applied field and the laser fluence. Based on our findings, we propose concepts for applications, such as all-optical writing and deletion, an ultrafast skyrmion reshuffling device for probabilistic computing, and a combined optical and spin–orbit torque-controlled racetrack.
Published in: Applied Physics Letters, 10.1063/5.0046033, American Institute of Physics