Hopfions are a type of magnetic spin structure that have become a popular research topic. A study published in Nature provides the first experimental evidence of hopfions. This is important for both fundamental and applied physics, as it could lead to new developments in spintronics.
Understanding how materials function is important for future technology. Spintronics, which studies the spin of electrons, offers new possibilities for combining electricity and magnetism for applications such as new electronics.
Hopfions and magnetic skyrmions are well-localized field configurations that have unique properties, making them promising for spintronic applications. Skyrmions are two-dimensional, resembling vortex-like strings, while hopfions are three-dimensional structures within a magnetic sample volume resembling closed, twisted skyrmion strings in the shape of a donut-shaped ring in the simplest case.
This study provides the first experimental evidence of stable hopfions in a crystal of B20-type FeGe plates using transmission electron microscopy and holography. The results are reproducible and in agreement with simulations.
This finding opens up new fields in experimental physics, including studying how hopfions interact with electric and spin currents, hopfion dynamics, and more. It is difficult to predict specific spintronic applications for hopfions, but they may be of interest for technologies involving three-dimensional movement, such as racetrack memory, neuromorphic computing, and qubits.
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