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Electric and antiferromagnetic chiral textures at multiferroic domain walls

Abstract : Chirality, a foundational concept throughout science, may arise at ferromagnetic domain walls 1 22 and in related objects such as skyrmions 2. However, chiral textures should also exist in other types 23 of ferroics such as antiferromagnets for which theory predicts that they should move faster for 24 lower power 3 , and ferroelectrics where they should be extremely small and possess unusual 25 topologies 4,5. Here we report the concomitant observation of antiferromagnetic and electric chiral 26 textures at domain walls in the room-temperature ferroelectric antiferromagnet BiFeO 3. 27 Combining reciprocal and real-space characterization techniques, we reveal the presence of 28 periodic chiral antiferromagnetic objects along the domain walls as well as a priori energetically 29 unfavorable chiral ferroelectric domain walls. We discuss the mechanisms underlying their 30 formation and their relevance for electrically controlled topological oxide electronics and 31 spintronics. 32 33 Metallic ferromagnets have been the elemental bricks of spintronics for the last three decades and 34 continue to hold promises on the basis of non-collinear chiral spin textures such as skyrmions. These 35 topologically protected objects are envisioned to be the future of magnetic data storage thanks to 36 their specific stability, dynamics, and scalability 2. In parallel, antiferromagnets (AFs) are emerging as a 37 new paradigm for spintronics 6. They are intrinsically stable (being insensitive to spurious magnetic 38 fields), scalable (no cross talk between neighbouring memory cells), and fast (switching frequencies 39 in the THz regime). The opportunity of gathering the best of these two worlds and realize 40 "antiferromagnetic skyrmions" is then tremendously appealing but faces at least two major 41 challenges. The first one is to achieve antiferromagnetic chirality and the second one is to identify 42 appropriate control stimuli to create, annihilate and move these chiral objects. 43 On one hand, chirality may naturally emerge at domain walls. The antiferromagnetic domain wall 44 structure is a virtually uncharted territory but this is where translational symmetry is broken and spin 45 rotation favoured. On the other hand, AF manipulation is hampered by the intrinsic lack of net 46 magnetization, which prevents a straightforward magnetic actuation. This fundamental issue may be 47
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J.-Y. Chauleau, T. Chirac, S. Fusil, Vincent Garcia, W. Akhtar, et al.. Electric and antiferromagnetic chiral textures at multiferroic domain walls. Nature Materials, Nature Publishing Group, 2020, 19 (5), pp.576-576. ⟨10.1038/s41563-019-0558-2⟩. ⟨hal-02909553⟩

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