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MAgnetic Insulator-based SKYrmion spintronic


Project name: MAI-SKY   - MAgnetic Insulator-based SKYrmion spintronics
Project duration: 09/2022 – 08/2025
Budget: 145’200€

Project Reference: PID2021-125973OA-I00


In MAI-SKY we aim to employ ultrathin magnetic garnet films as a tunable material platform to generate and manipulate magnetic skyrmions using novel/unconventional methods. We will then investigate the field and current-driven dynamics of those skyrmions and exploit them in spintronic memory and logic devices.

Long description: Information technologies are growing at an astonishing speed. To keep up with the current pace, we need faster, denser, and more efficient memory and logic elements, relying on new materials and physical phenomena. Spintronics offers attractive solutions in this quest, where data are stored and manipulated using electron spins rather than charge as in conventional electronics. The central challenge in spintronics is manipulating magnetization in nanodevices efficiently and rapidly with sustainable energy consumption.

Magnetic skyrmions have recently emerged as a suitable playground for binary data storage with ultralow energy consumption and fast operation in the past decade. A skyrmion is a chiral spin texture that possesses particle-like properties and emerges in magnetic materials with structural inversion asymmetry. They can be created, manipulated, and deleted using electrical currents, fulfilling all the requirements to build a spintronic device, in theory. However, significant challenges remain in practice, such as their reliable/reproducible motion, stability against external stimuli, and electrical detection, etc. Thus far, most research efforts concerning skyrmions have focused on conducting materials even though magnetic insulators (MIs) often offer superior properties, useful for applications.

In MAI-SKY, we will translate the decade-long accumulated knowledge on skyrmions and the ability to manipulate them using electrical currents to a more suitable family of materials: MIs. We have recently discovered that some MIs readily host all the properties relevant for skyrmion generation, engineering, and manipulation. But, despite their apparent advantages, MIs have been excluded from the skyrmionic context thus far. Therefore, this project will benefit from this timely opportunity to study skyrmions in MIs and develop fast and efficient skyrmionic devices for future computing technologies. Briefly, we plan to:

- Engineer magnetic insulators compatible to host skyrmions at room temperature suitable for real-world applications.

- Explore novel/unconventional approaches to generate nanoscale skyrmions in magnetic insulators.

- Investigate magnetic field- and electric current-driven dynamics of skyrmions

- Develop skyrmion-based proof-of-concept devices for efficient data storage and processing.

Overall, MAI-SKY will introduce a new family of materials -magnetic insulators- into skyrmionic research to create new opportunities by offering wide parameter tunability for testing a broad spectrum of ideas from fundamentals to applications. We will generate breakthrough knowledge on one of the flagship topics in condensed matter at the cross-section of physics, nanotechnology, and materials science.