Field-driven metamorphoses of isolated skyrmions within the conical state of cubic helimagnets

Andrey O. Leonov, C. Pappas, Ivan I. Smalyukh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
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Topologically stable field configurations appear in many fields of physics, from elementary particles to condensed matter and cosmology. Deep physical relations and common physical features of a large variety of very different solitonic states in these systems arise from the mathematical similarity of phenomenological equations.
During the last decade, chiral liquid crystals and chiral magnets took on the role of model objects for the experimental investigation of topological solitons and the understanding of their nonsingular field configurations. This is directly related to the discovery of particle-like chiral skyrmions, which are also considered as promising
ingredients for technological applications. Here we introduce a paradigm of facile skyrmionic networks with mutually orthogonal orientations of constituent isolated skyrmions. On the one hand, such networks are envisioned as a novel concept of spintronic devices based, e.g., on gapless skyrmion motion along each other, and are presumably responsible for precursor phenomena near the ordering temperatures of bulk cubic helimagnets. In particular, we demonstrate an interconversion between mutually orthogonal skyrmions: horizontal skyrmions may swirl into an intermediate spring-like state and subsequently squeeze into vertical skyrmions with both polarities. On the other hand, skyrmion tubes are considered as building blocks for particle-like states with more involved internal structure. A family of target-skyrmions, which includes a so far overlooked type with a multiple topological charge, is formed owing to the tendency to minimize the interaction energy between vertical
and horizontal skyrmions. The conical phase serves as a suitable background for considered skyrmion evolution.
It substantializes the attracting skyrmion-skyrmion interaction in the skyrmionic networks, shapes their internal
structure, and guides the nucleation processes. Alternatively, intricate textural changes of isolated skyrmions
result not only in the structural deformations of a host conical state, but may lead to the formation of an exotic
skyrmion order with pairs of merons being the core of the game. Generically, the fundamental insights provided
by this work emphasize a three-dimensional character of skyrmion metamorphoses and can also be extended to
three-dimensional solitons, such as hopfions
Original languageEnglish
Article number064432
Number of pages13
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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