UNSW researchers take a novel step toward low-energy circuitry

By on 20 May, 2020

Researchers at UNSW Science have found that skyrmions, ‘whirl’ shaped magnetic textures at the nano level, are showing promise for the future of computing.

UNSW researchers have discovered novel methods of storing and processing information in electronic devices using skyrmions, which could significantly reduce the energy needed to support digital lifestyles.

Relative to dynamic memory, storing data in skyrmions enhances its stability over time, making stored information non-volatile and ‘live’ longer — making it more stable and far more energy efficient.

The researchers from UNSW Science, who also collaborated with researchers from Brookhaven National Laboratory in the US and the University of Auckland, said that the potential of what they call ‘skyrmion lattice manipulation’ is an attractive alternative to existing architectures.

“We investigate nanoscale magnetic ‘whirls’ called skyrmions in a new oxide material, Te-doped Cu2OSeO3,” says Professor Jan Seidel from UNSW’s School of Materials Science and Engineering.

“We show how these skyrmions form and transform in thin films of the material with applied magnetic field, temperature and as a function of material composition. We especially investigate thin films of the material, only a few hundred atoms thick,” he said.

“Thin films in single phase, skyrmion host materials so far have been rarely investigated, but they are a requirement for future nanoelectronics applications.”

The group says it has cleared a path for the development of skyrmion nanoelectronic circuitry by showing how skyrmion lattice manipulation can be achieved.

“Our work is exciting, because Lorentz microscopy is one of the few available methods to see skyrmions directly, and even allows us to make movies about their dynamic behaviour,” Professor Seidel said.

Professor Seidel said the group will next investigate how to control individual skyrmions in this material.

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