Magnetic Skyrmion Formation at Lattice Defects and Grain Boundaries Studied by Quantitative Off-Axis Electron Holography
Li, Z.-A. and Zheng, F. and Tavabi, A.H. and Caron, J. and Jin, C. and Du, H. and Kovács, A. and Tian, M. and Farle, M. and Dunin-Borkowski, R.E.
Volume: 17 Pages: 1395-1401
We use in situ Lorentz microscopy and off-axis electron holography to investigate the formation and characteristics of skyrmion lattice defects and their relationship to the underlying crystallographic structure of a B20 FeGe thin film. We obtain experimental measurements of spin configurations at grain boundaries, which reveal inversions of crystallographic and magnetic chirality across adjacent grains, resulting in the formation of interface spin stripes at the grain boundaries. In the absence of material defects, we observe that skyrmions lattices possess dislocations and domain boundaries, in analogy to atomic crystals. Moreover, the distorted skyrmions can flexibly change their size and shape to accommodate local geometry, especially at sites of dislocations in the skyrmion lattice. Our findings provide a detailed understanding of the elasticity of topologically protected skyrmions and their correlation with underlying material defects. © 2017 American Chemical Society.