Birch, M.T.; Powalla, L.; Wintz, S.; Hovorka, O.; Litzius, L.; Loudon, J.C.; Turnbull, L.A.; Nehruji, V.; Son, K.; Bubeck, C.; Rauch, T.G.; Weigand, M.; Georing, E.; Burghard, M.; Schütz, G.: History-dependent domain and skyrmion formation in 2D van der Waals magnet Fe3GeTe2. Nature Communications 13 (2022), p. 3035/1-11
Open Access Version
The discovery of two-dimensional magnets has initiated a new field of research, exploring both fundamental low-dimensional magnetism, and prospective spintronic applications. Recently, observations of magnetic skyrmions in the 2D ferromagnet Fe3GeTe2 (FGT) have been reported, introducing further application possibilities. However, controlling the exhibited magnetic state requires systematic knowledge of the history-dependence of the spin textures, which remains largely unexplored in 2D magnets. In this work, we utilise real-space imaging, and complementary simulations, to determine and explain the thickness-dependent magnetic phase diagrams of an exfoliated FGT flake, revealing a complex, history-dependent emergence of the uniformly magnetised, stripe domain and skyrmion states. The results show that the interplay of the dominant dipolar interaction and strongly temperature dependent out-of-plane anisotropy energy terms enables the selective stabilisation of all three states at zero field, and at a single temperature, while the Dzyaloshinksii-Moriya interaction must be present to realise the observed Néel-type domain walls. The findings open perspectives for 2D devices incorporating topological spin textures.