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Toplogical magnetic solitons in thin epitaxial films with reduced symmetry

Abstract : In this thesis I studied the relationship between the crystal symmetry, the symmetry of the magnetic interactions and topological solitons in epitaxial magnetic thin films. The case of thin films with C2v symmetry has been considered. These systems are particularly interesting for the anisotropic properties that allow stabilising magnetic solitons with different symmetries and topology. I used theoretical and experimental approaches to investigate this phenomenon:Micromagnetic approach:The relationship between the atomistic and the micromagnetic formulations of magnetic interactions was studied as a function of the crystal symmetry.This allowed to explain the presence of anisotropicinteractions and study their effect on the configurations of 1D and 2D magnetic solitons. The discussion starts from the simplest 1D soliton, the domain wall, and step-by-step new interactions and symmetries are added in order to characterize the stability conditions and the properties of 2D solitons, skyrmions and anti-skyrmions. Our method allowed to study 2D topological solitons over a wide range of parameters and build a phase diagram as a function of the Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction (DMI) strength and magnetic field intensity. This allowed us to distinguish three kinds of 2D topological solitons (skyrmions, skyrmionic bubbles and supercritical skyrmions) as a function of their size and response to an external magnetic field. We show that an inversion of DMI strength along perpendicular directions allows the stabilisation of anti-skyrmions. A micromagnetic model is developed to study the configuration and energy differences between skyrmions and anti-skyrmions. This shows that the dipolar interaction breaks the circular symmetry of the antiskyrmion and makes it more stable than the skyrmion.Experimental approach:Epitaxial magnetic systems with C2v symmetry have been grown. For each system I describe the growth parameters and crystal symmetry, followed by the results of the magnetic characterisation and finally the results from the magnetic microscopy measurements.I have investigated the DMI symmetry and strength in an out-of-plane magnetised epitaxial Au/Co/W trilayer. The DMI in this system promotes a clockwise chirality of the spin modulation with a strong anisotropy in the DMI strength. This anisotropy arises from the C2v symmetry of the Co/W stack.Skyrmions in this system should have an elliptical shape. We stabilised skyrmions in continuous films and in nanopatterned structures. Their magnetic configurations have been displayed with different microscopic techniques, XMCD-PEEM and MFM, without identifying anisotropic properties.We designed the W/Co/Au-Pt (solid solution) system to increase the effect of the anisotropic interactions on the skyrmion configuration. Microscopy studies in naturally demagnetised areas show that stripe domains parallel to the in-plane easy axis are stable in this system. The configuration with a larger periodicity has been found even for thinner Co layer after demagnetisation with a magnetic field. Kerr microscopy studies of the DW dynamics allowed to evidence the origin of this magnetic configuration, which arises from a strong anisotropy in the DW motion.MFM measurements with the application of a static magnetic field have been performed in order to confine elliptical skyrmionic bubbles but the reduced sensitivity of this technique to thin magnetic systems did not allow to display and characterise them. XMCD-PEEM measurements allowed to display the internal structure of the DWs along the in-plane hard axis of the system. They show the presence of a Néel DW component. Finally I have grown and studied a W/Fe/Co/Au system where anti-skyrmions may in principle be stabilised. However, the system did not show the out-of-plane magnetisation which is fundamental for the stabilisation of skyrmions. This means that the W/Fe in-plane anisotropy dominates the Co/Au out-of-plane anisotropy.
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Lorenzo Camosi. Toplogical magnetic solitons in thin epitaxial films with reduced symmetry. Materials Science [cond-mat.mtrl-sci]. Université Grenoble Alpes, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018GREAY012⟩. ⟨tel-01871292⟩

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