Properties and dynamics of meron topological spin textures in the two-dimensional magnet CrCl3

Mathias Augustin, Sarah Jenkins, Richard F.L. Evans, Kostya S. Novoselov, Elton J.G. Santos*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Merons are nontrivial topological spin textures highly relevant for many phenomena in solid state physics. Despite their importance, direct observation of such vortex quasiparticles is scarce and has been limited to a few complex materials. Here, we show the emergence of merons and antimerons in recently discovered two-dimensional (2D) CrCl3 at zero magnetic field. We show their entire evolution from pair creation, their diffusion over metastable domain walls, and collision leading to large magnetic monodomains. Both quasiparticles are stabilized spontaneously during cooling at regions where in-plane magnetic frustration takes place. Their dynamics is determined by the interplay between the strong in-plane dipolar interactions and the weak out-of-plane magnetic anisotropy stabilising a vortex core within a radius of 8–10 nm. Our results push the boundary to what is currently known about non-trivial spin structures in 2D magnets and open exciting opportunities to control magnetic domains via topological quasiparticles.

Original languageEnglish
Article number185
Number of pages9
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
E.J.G.S. thanks Dina-Abdul Wahab for assistance in the preparation of Fig. 5 and Supplementary Figs. S8–S10. R.F.L.E. gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (Grant No. EPSRC EP/P022006/1) and the use of the VIKING Cluster, which is a high performance compute facility provided by the University of York. This work was enabled by code enhancements to the VAMPIRE software implemented under the embedded CSE program (ecse0709) and (ecse1307) of the ARCHER UK National Supercomputing Service. E.J.G.S. also acknowledges computational resources through the UK Materials and Molecular Modeling Hub for access to THOMAS supercluster, which is partially funded by EPSRC (EP/P020194/1); CIRRUS Tier-2 HPC Service (ec131 Cirrus Project) at EPCC funded by the University of Edinburgh and EPSRC (EP/P020267/1); ARCHER UK National Supercomputing Service ( via Project d429. EJGS acknowledges the EPSRC Early Career Fellowship (EP/T021578/1) and the University of Edinburgh for funding support.

© 2021, The Author(s).

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