Observation and formation mechanism of 360° domain wall rings in synthetic anti-ferromagnets with interlayer chiral interactions

Miguel A. Cascales Sandoval, A. Hierro-Rodríguez, S. Ruiz-Gómez, L. Skoric, C. Donnelly, M. A. Niño, E. Y. Vedmedenko, D. McGrouther, S. McVitie, S. Flewett, N. Jaouen, M. Foerster, A. Fernández-Pacheco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The interlayer Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction (IL-DMI) chirally couples spins in different ferromagnetic layers of multilayer heterostructures. So far, samples with IL-DMI have been investigated utilizing magnetometry and magnetotransport techniques, where the interaction manifests as a tunable chiral exchange bias field. Here, we investigate the nanoscale configuration of the magnetization vector in a synthetic anti-ferromagnet (SAF) with IL-DMI, after applying demagnetizing field sequences. We add different global magnetic field offsets to the demagnetizing sequence in order to investigate the states that form when the IL-DMI exchange bias field is fully or partially compensated. For magnetic imaging and vector reconstruction of the remanent magnetic states, we utilize x-ray magnetic circular dichroism photoemission electron microscopy, evidencing the formation of 360° domain wall rings of typically 0.5-3.0 μm in diameter. These spin textures are only observed when the exchange bias field due to the IL-DMI is not perfectly compensated by the magnetic field offset. From a combination of micromagnetic simulations, magnetic charge distribution, and topology arguments, we conclude that a non-zero remanent effective field with components both parallel and perpendicular to the anisotropy axis of the SAF is necessary to observe the rings. This work shows how the exchange bias field due to IL-DMI can lead to complex metastable spin states during reversal, important for the development of future spintronic devices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number172407
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number17
StatePublished - 23 Oct 2023


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