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Square and rhombic lattices of magnetic skyrmions in a centrosymmetric binary compound

高木 里奈*; 松山 直文*; Ukleev, V.*; Yu, L.*; White, J. S.*; Francoual, S.*; Mardegan, J. R. L.*; 速水 賢*; 齋藤 開*; 金子 耕士  ; 大石 一城*; 大貫 惇睦*; 有馬 孝尚*; 十倉 好紀*; 中島 多朗*; 関 真一郎*

Takagi, Rina*; Matsuyama, Naofumi*; Ukleev, V.*; Yu, L.*; White, J. S.*; Francoual, S.*; Mardegan, J. R. L.*; Hayami, Satoru*; Saito, Hiraku*; Kaneko, Koji; Oishi, Kazuki*; Onuki, Yoshichika*; Arima, Takahisa*; Tokura, Yoshinori*; Nakajima, Taro*; Seki, Shinichiro*

Magnetic skyrmions are topologically stable swirling spin textures with particle-like character, and have been intensively studied as a candidate of high-density information bit. While magnetic skyrmions were originally discovered in noncentrosymmetric systems, recently a nanometric skyrmion lattice has also been reported for centrosymmetric rare-earth compounds. For the latter systems, a novel skyrmion formation mechanism mediated by itinerant electrons has been proposed, and the search of a simpler model system allowing for a better understanding of their intricate magnetic phase diagram is highly demanded. Here, we report the discovery of square and rhombic lattices of nanometric skyrmions in a centrosymmetric binary compound EuAl$$_4$$, by performing small-angle neutron and resonant elastic X-ray scattering experiments. Unlike previously reported centrosymmetric skyrmion-hosting materials, EuAl$$_4$$ shows multiple-step reorientation of the fundamental magnetic modulation vector as a function of magnetic field, probably reflecting a delicate balance of associated itinerant-electron-mediated interactions. The present results demonstrate that a variety of distinctive skyrmion orders can be derived even in a simple centrosymmetric binary compound, which highlights rare-earth intermetallic systems as a promising platform to realize/control the competition of multiple topological magnetic phases in a single material.

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