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Durham University

Department of Physics

Staff profile

Publication details for Professor Tom Lancaster

Birch, M. T., Takagi, R., Seki, S., Wilson, M. N., Kagawa, F., Štefančič, A., Balakrishnan, G., Fan, R., Steadman, P., Ottley, C. J., Crisanti, M., Cubitt, R., Lancaster, T., Tokura, Y. & Hatton, P. D. (2019). Increased lifetime of metastable skyrmions by controlled doping. Physical Review B 100(1): 014425.

Author(s) from Durham


Previous observations of metastable magnetic skyrmions have shown that close to the equilibrium pocket
the metastable state has a short lifetime, and therefore, rapid cooling is required to generate a significant
skyrmion population at low temperatures. Here, we report that the lifetime of metastable skyrmions in crystals of
Cu2OSeO3 is extended by a factor of 50 with the introduction of only 2.5% zinc doping, allowing over 50% of the
population to survive when field cooling at a rate of just 1 K/min. Our systematic study suggests that the lifetime
enhancement is due to the increase in the pinning site density, rather than an alteration to the energy barrier of
the decay process. We expect that doping can be exploited to control the lifetime of the metastable SkL state in
other chiral magnets, offering a method of engineering skyrmion materials towards application in future devices.