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Creation and observation of Hopfions in magnetic multilayer systems

Kent, Noah and Reynolds, Neal and Raftrey, David and Campbell, Ian T. G. and Virasawmy, Selven and Dhuey, Scott and Chopdekar, Rajesh V. and Hierro-Rodriguez, Aurelio and Sorrentino, Andrea and Pereiro, Eva and Ferrer, Salvador and Hellman, Frances and Sutcliffe, Paul and Fischer, Peter (2021) 'Creation and observation of Hopfions in magnetic multilayer systems.', Nature Communications, 12 (1). p. 1562.


Among topological solitons, magnetic skyrmions are two-dimensional particle-like objects with a continuous winding of the magnetization, and magnetic Hopfions are three-dimensional objects that can be formed from a closed loop of twisted skyrmion strings. Theoretical models suggest that magnetic Hopfions can be stabilized in frustrated or chiral magnetic systems, and target skymions can be transformed into Hopfions by adapting their perpendicular magnetic anisotropy, but their experimental verification has been elusive so far. Here, we present an experimental study of magnetic Hopfions that are created in Ir/Co/Pt multilayers shaped into nanoscale disks, known to host target skyrmions. To characterize three-dimensional spin textures that distinguish Hopfions from target skyrmions magnetic images are recorded with surface-sensitive X-ray photoemission electron microscopy and bulk-sensitive soft X-ray transmission microscopy using element-specific X-ray magnetic circular dichroism effects as magnetic contrast. These results could stimulate further investigations of Hopfions and their potential application in three-dimensional spintronics devices.

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Publisher statement:Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
Date accepted:08 February 2021
Date deposited:24 March 2021
Date of first online publication:10 March 2021
Date first made open access:24 March 2021

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