A new physical phenomenon has recently been discovered by a research team specifically involving twisted structures called skyrmions.
According to a Nanowerk report, researchers from China, Sweden, and Germany found the said phenomenon, specifically complex twisted structures made of skyrmions that are described in the study as small magnetic vortices.
Skyrmions were initially detected experimentally, a little more than a decade ago, and have since been the subject of various studies, and providing a probable basis for innovative ideas in processing information that offer more effective performance, not to mention lower energy consumption.
Moreover, skyrmions affect the magnetoresistive, as well as a material's thermodynamic properties. This new finding published in Nature Communications, as a result, has significance for both applied and basic research.
Nanostring Made Up of Skyrmions
Threads, strings, and braided structures can be seen all over places in everyday life, from shoelaces to woven or knitted pullovers from plaits in the hair of a child to the braided steel cables that are used to support innumerable bridges.
The structures are typically seen in nature and for instance, can provide plant fibers with tensile or flexural strength.
Forschungszentrum Jülich physicists, together with colleagues from Stockholm and Hefei, have found that such constructions exist on the nanoscale in iron's alloys, as well as the metalloid germanium.
Essentially, such nanostrings are each, made up of various skyrmions, a similar Phys.org report said, twisted together to either a greater or lesser extent, instead of a rope's strands.
Every skyrmion itself comprises magnetic moments that point in various directions and together, take an elongated small vortex's form.
Limited Magnetic Structures
A single skyrmion strand comprises a diameter of less than one micrometer. The magnetic structures' length is limited only by the sample's thickness. They are extending from one surface of the sample to the contradictory surface.
Previous research by other scientists had found that such filaments are extensively linear and nearly rod-shaped. Nevertheless, ultra-high-resolution microscopy studies carried out at the Ernst Ruska-Center in the threads can actually braid together to differing degrees.
Researchers have said, such complicated shapes are stabilizing the magnetic structures, making them specifically interesting for use in an array of applications.
Jülich physicist Dr. Nikolai Kiselev was delighted to share that mathematics contains a great range of such structures. Now, he continued, they know that such theoretical knowledge can be translated into actual physical phenomena.
These structure types inside magnetic solids are suggesting distinctive electrical and magnetic properties. Nevertheless, further studies are needed to validate this.
Quantum Mechanical Phenomena
For the explanation of such a discrepancy between this research and those previously carried out, the study investigator pointed out that analyses that use an ultra-high resolution electron microscope which is described in the US Department of Veterans Affairs website, are not simply providing an illustration of the sample, as in the case, for instance, on an optical microscope.
This is for the reason that quantum mechanical phenomena come into play when the high-energy electrons are interacting with those in the model.
Kiselev explained that it is quite possible that the other studies have seen these structures as well, under the microscope, although they have failed to interpret them.
This is due to the fact that it is impossible to directly identify the magnetization directions' distribution in the sample from the data collected.
Instead, it is essential to develop a theoretical model of the sample and produce a type of electron microscope image from it, added Kiselev.
Related information about magnetic skyrmion is shown on Tommy Devoy's YouTube video below: