Abstract: The recent experimental confirmation of a transformation between meron and skyrmion topological spin textures in the chiral magnet ${\mathrm{Co}}_{8}{\mathrm{Zn}}_{9}{\mathrm{Mn}}_{3}$ [S.-Z. Lin et al., Phys. Rev. B 91, 224407 (2015); X. Z. Yu et al., Nature 564, 95 (2018)] confirms that the skyrmion crystals discovered in 2009 [S. M\"uhlbauer et al., Science 323, 915 (2009)] are just the tip of the iceberg. Crystals of topological textures, including skyrmions, merons, vortices, and monopoles, can be stabilized by combining simple physical ingredients, such as lattice symmetry, frustration, and spin anisotropy. The current challenge is to find the combinations of these ingredients that produce specific topological spin textures. Here we report a simple mechanism for the stabilization of meron, skyrmion, and vortex crystals in centrosymmetric tetragonal magnets. In particular, the meron/skyrmion crystals can form even in absence of magnetic field. The application of magnetic field leads to a rich variety of topological spin textures that survive in the long wavelength limit of the theory. When conduction electrons are coupled to the spins, these topological spin textures twist the electronic wave functions to induce Chern insulators and Weyl semimetals for specific band filling fractions.

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7 results found

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Abstract: Quantum fluctuations become particularly relevant in highly frustrated quantum magnets and can lead to new states of matter. We provide a simple and robust scenario for inducing magnetic vortex crystals in frustrated Mott insulators. By considering a quantum paramagnet that has a gapped spectrum with six-fold degenerate low energy modes, we study the magnetic field induced condensation of these modes. We use a dilute gas approximation to demonstrate that a plethora of multi-$\mathbf{Q}$ condensates are stabilized for different combinations of exchange interactions. This rich quantum phase diagram includes magnetic vortex crystals, which are further stabilized by symmetric exchange anisotropies. Because magnetic skyrmion and domain wall crystals have already been predicted and experimentally observed, this novel vortex phase completes the picture of emergent crystals of topologically nontrivial spin configurations.

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Topics: Mott insulator (58%), Magnetic skyrmion (56%), Paramagnetism (55%) ... read more

21 Citations

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Abstract: Spin textures with nontrivial topology, such as vortices and skyrmions, have attracted attention as a source of unconventional magnetic, transport, and optical phenomena. Recently, a new generation of topological spin textures has been extensively studied in itinerant magnets; in contrast to the conventional ones induced, e.g., by the Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction in noncentrosymmetric systems, they are characterized by extremely short magnetic periods and stable even in centrosymmetric systems. Here we review such new types of topological spin textures with particular emphasis on their stabilization mechanism. Focusing on the interplay between charge and spin degrees of freedom in itinerant electron systems, we show that itinerant frustration, which is the competition among electron-mediated interactions, plays a central role in stabilizing a variety of topological spin crystals including a skyrmion crystal with unconventional high skyrmion number, meron crystals, and hedgehog crystals. We also show that the essential ingredients in the itinerant frustration are represented by bilinear and biquadratic spin interactions in momentum space. This perspective not only provides a unified understanding of the unconventional topological spin crystals but also stimulates further exploration of exotic topological phenomena in itinerant magnets.

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Topics: Frustration (55%), Skyrmion (54%), Spin-½ (51%)

9 Citations

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Abstract: We study noncoplanar magnetic ordering in frustrated itinerant magnets. For a family of Kondo square lattice models with classical local moments, we find that a double-Q noncoplanar vortex crystal has lower energy than the single-Q helical order expected from the Ruderman–Kittel–Kasuya–Yosida interaction when the lattice symmetry dictates four global maxima in the bare magnetic susceptibility. By expanding in the small Kondo exchange and the degree of noncoplanarity, we demonstrate that this noncoplanar state arises from a Fermi surface instability occurring in independent sections connected by two ordering wave vectors.

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Topics: Fermi surface (53%), Square lattice (52%)

5 Citations

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Abstract: Multiple-$Q$ magnetic states often induce nontrivial topological spin textures, such as a skyrmion and a hedgehog. We theoretically investigate yet another multiple-$Q$ state with topological defects, a meron-antimeron crystal (MAX), represented by a periodic array of the meron and antimeron with a half-integer skyrmion number. Performing simulated annealing for an effective spin model of noncentrosymmetric itinerant magnets on a triangular lattice, we show that rectangular-shaped and triangular-shaped MAXs are stabilized by the interplay between the biquadratic interaction arising from the spin-charge coupling and the Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction arising from the spin-orbit coupling. We also discuss the effect of a magnetic field on the triangular MAX, where highly anisotropic responses against a field direction are found. In particular, we show that the triangular MAX turns into the skyrmion crystal for the fields along the $y$ and $z$ directions, while it is replaced by another chiral state for the field along the $x$ direction. These results should inspire further experimental investigation of MAXs in itinerant magnets.

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Topics: Skyrmion (59%), Hexagonal lattice (54%), Topological defect (52%) ... read more

3 Citations

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Abstract: Interplay between itinerant electrons and localized spins in itinerant magnets gives rise to a variety of noncoplanar multiple-$Q$ spin textures, such as the skyrmion, hedgehog, meron, and vortex. We elucidate that another type of multiple-$Q$ state consisting of collinear sinusoidal waves, a magnetic bubble crystal, appears at finite temperatures in a centrosymmetric itinerant electron system. The results are obtained for the classical Kondo lattice model with easy-axis single-ion anisotropy on a triangular lattice by a large-scale numerical simulation. We find that a finite-temperature topological phase transition between the skyrmion crystal and the bubble crystal occurs by changing the temperature. We obtain the minimal key ingredients for inducing the finite-temperature transition by analyzing an effective spin model where it is shown that the synergy between the multiple-spin interaction and magnetic anisotropy plays a significant role.

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Topics: Skyrmion (61%), Hexagonal lattice (53%), Magnetic anisotropy (52%) ... read more

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43 results found

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Abstract: A thermodynamic theory of “weak” ferromagnetism of α-Fe 2 O 3 , MnCO 3 and CoCO 3 is developed on the basis of landau's theory of phase transitions of the second kind. It is shown that the “weak” ferromagnetism is due to the relativistic spin-lattice and the magnetic dipole interactions. A strong dependence of the properties of “weak” ferromagnetics on the magnetic crystalline symmetry is noted and the behaviour of these ferromagnetics in a magnetic field is studied.

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Topics: Ferromagnetism (57%), Magnetic dipole (53%), Phase transition (53%) ... read more

3,916 Citations

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Xiangang Wan^{1}, Ari M. Turner^{2}, Ashvin Vishwanath^{2}, Ashvin Vishwanath^{3} +2 more•Institutions (4)

Abstract: We investigate novel phases that emerge from the interplay of electron correlations and strong spin-orbit interactions. We focus on describing the topological semimetal, a three-dimensional phase of a magnetic solid, and argue that it may be realized in a class of pyrochlore iridates (such as ${\mathrm{Y}}_{2}$Ir${}_{2}$O${}_{7}$) based on calculations using the $\text{LDA}+U$ method. This state is a three-dimensional analog of graphene with linearly dispersing excitations and provides a condensed-matter realization of Weyl fermions that obeys a two-component Dirac equation. It also exhibits remarkable topological properties manifested by surface states in the form of Fermi arcs, which are impossible to realize in purely two-dimensional band structures. For intermediate correlation strengths, we find this to be the ground state of the pyrochlore iridates, coexisting with noncollinear magnetic order. A narrow window of magnetic ``axion'' insulator may also be present. An applied magnetic field is found to induce a metallic ground state.

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Topics: Weyl semimetal (58%), Fermi point (52%), Ground state (51%) ... read more

3,230 Citations

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Sebastian Mühlbauer^{1}, B. Binz^{2}, F. Jonietz^{1}, Christian Pfleiderer^{1} +4 more•Institutions (2)

Abstract: Skyrmions represent topologically stable field configurations with particle-like properties. We used neutron scattering to observe the spontaneous formation of a two-dimensional lattice of skyrmion lines, a type of magnetic vortex, in the chiral itinerant-electron magnet MnSi. The skyrmion lattice stabilizes at the border between paramagnetism and long-range helimagnetic order perpendicular to a small applied magnetic field regardless of the direction of the magnetic field relative to the atomic lattice. Our study experimentally establishes magnetic materials lacking inversion symmetry as an arena for new forms of crystalline order composed of topologically stable spin states.

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Topics: Magnetic skyrmion (67%), Skyrmion (64%), Paramagnetism (58%) ... read more

2,803 Citations

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Abstract: In 5d transition metal oxides such as the iridates, novel properties arise from the interplay of electron correlations and spin-orbit interactions. We investigate the electronic structure of the pyrochlore iridates, (such as Y$_{2}$Ir$_{2}$O$_{7}$) using density functional theory, LDA+U method, and effective low energy models. A remarkably rich phase diagram emerges on tuning the correlation strength U. The Ir magnetic moment are always found to be non-collinearly ordered. However, the ground state changes from a magnetic metal at weak U, to a Mott insulator at large U. Most interestingly, the intermediate U regime is found to be a Dirac semi-metal, with vanishing density of states at the Fermi energy. It also exhibits topological properties - manifested by special surface states in the form of Fermi arcs, that connect the bulk Dirac points. This Dirac phase, a three dimensional analog of graphene, is proposed as the ground state of Y$_{2}$Ir$_{2}$O$_{7}$ and related compounds. A narrow window of magnetic `axion' insulator, with axion parameter $\theta=\pi$, may also be present at intermediate U. An applied magnetic field induces ferromagnetic order and a metallic ground state.

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Topics: Mott insulator (56%), Dirac (software) (54%), Weyl semimetal (53%) ... read more

2,573 Citations

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Abstract: Weyl and Dirac semimetals are three-dimensional phases of matter with gapless electronic excitations that are protected by topology and symmetry. As three-dimensional analogs of graphene, they have generated much recent interest. Deep connections exist with particle physics models of relativistic chiral fermions, and, despite their gaplessness, to solid-state topological and Chern insulators. Their characteristic electronic properties lead to protected surface states and novel responses to applied electric and magnetic fields. The theoretical foundations of these phases, their proposed realizations in solid-state systems, and recent experiments on candidate materials as well as their relation to other states of matter are reviewed.

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Topics: Weyl semimetal (66%), Dirac (software) (56%), State of matter (51%)

2,328 Citations