What is it about?

Magnetic skyrmions are very stable cylindrical objects that exist in magnets and are potential candidates for use in future information technology devices. Here we have shown for the first time that an electric current flowing perpendicular to the skyrmions' length stretches the skyrmions' top-down profile into an elliptical shape, and surprisingly expands their cylindrical cores. We have demonstrated that skyrmions don't break under such a force, and actually return to their original shape when we stop the current flow.

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Why is it important?

It is a common belief that skyrmions are rigid under applied currents, and the majority of skyrmionics publications and proposed applications using skyrmion motion rely on this assumption. We found that skyrmions deform and expand under an applied current with surprising severity even with small currents, highlighting their robust nature. This has a tremendous impact on the skyrmionics and spintronics field, and various ideas need to be reevaluated, whereas other unconventional fields such as reservoir computing rely on such a property and will certainly use these findings to guide a plethora of follow-up studies.

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This page is a summary of: Real-space determination of the isolated magnetic skyrmion deformation under electric current flow, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, October 2022, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2200958119.
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