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Anisotropy-induced depinning in the Zn-substituted skyrmion host Cu2OSeO3

Birch, M.T.; Moody, S.H.; Wilson, M.N.; Crisanti, M.; Bewley, O.; Štefančič, A.; Balakrishnan, G.; Fan, R.; Steadman, P.; Alba Venero, D.; Cubitt, R.; Hatton, P.D.

Anisotropy-induced depinning in the Zn-substituted skyrmion host Cu2OSeO3 Thumbnail


M.T. Birch

M.N. Wilson

M. Crisanti

O. Bewley

A. Štefančič

G. Balakrishnan

R. Fan

P. Steadman

D. Alba Venero

R. Cubitt


Magnetic skyrmions are nanosized topological spin textures stabilized by a delicate balance of magnetic energy terms. The chemical substitution of the underlying crystal structure of skyrmion-hosting materials offers a route to manipulate these energy contributions but also introduces additional effects such as disorder and pinning. While the effects of doping and disorder have been well studied in B20 metallic materials such as Fe1−xCoxSi and Mn1−xFexSi, the consequences of chemical substitution in the magnetoelectric insulator Cu2OSeO3 have not been fully explored. In this work we utilize a combination of AC magnetometry and small-angle neutron scattering to investigate the magnetic phase transition dynamics in pristine and Zn-substituted Cu2OSeO3. The results demonstrate that the first-order helical-conical phase transition exhibits two thermally separated behavioral regimes: at high temperatures, the helical and conical domains transform by large-scale, continuous rotations, while at low temperatures, the two phases coexist. Remarkably, the effects of pinning in the substituted sample are less prevalent at low temperatures compared to high temperatures, despite the reduction of available thermal activation energy. We attribute this behavior to the large, temperature-dependent, cubic anisotropy unique to Cu2OSeO3, which becomes strong enough to overcome the pinning energy at low temperatures. Consideration and further exploration of these effects will be crucial when engineering skyrmion materials towards future applications.


Birch, M., Moody, S., Wilson, M., Crisanti, M., Bewley, O., Štefančič, A., …Hatton, P. (2020). Anisotropy-induced depinning in the Zn-substituted skyrmion host Cu2OSeO3. Physical review B, 102(10), Article 104424.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 2, 2020
Online Publication Date Sep 18, 2020
Publication Date 2020-09
Deposit Date Oct 7, 2020
Publicly Available Date Oct 7, 2020
Journal Physical Review B
Print ISSN 1098-0121
Electronic ISSN 1550-235X
Publisher American Physical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 102
Issue 10
Article Number 104424


Published Journal Article (5.2 Mb)

Copyright Statement
Reprinted with permission from the American Physical Society: Birch, M. T., Moody, S. H., Wilson, M. N., Crisanti, M., Bewley, O., Štefančič, A., Balakrishnan, G., Fan, R., Steadman, P., Alba Venero, D., Cubitt, R. & Hatton, P. D. (2020). Anisotropy-induced depinning in the Zn-substituted skyrmion host Cu2OSeO3. Physical Review B 102(10): 104424 © 2020 by the American Physical Society. Readers may view, browse, and/or download material for temporary copying purposes only, provided these uses are for noncommercial personal purposes. Except as provided by law, this material may not be further reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, adapted, performed, displayed, published, or sold in whole or part, without prior written permission from the American Physical Society.

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