Imaging the coupling between itinerant electrons and localised moments in the centrosymmetric skyrmion magnet GdRu2Si2


Yuuki Yasui, Christopher J. Butler, Nguyen Duy Khanh, Satoru Hayami, Takuya Nomoto,Tetsuo Hanaguri, Yukitoshi Motome, Ryotaro Arita, Taka-hisa Arima, Yoshinori Tokura, Shinichiro Seki

Magnetic skyrmions were thought to be stabilised only in inversion-symmetry breaking structures, but skyrmion lattices were recently discovered in inversion symmetric Gd-based compounds, spurring questions of the stabilisation mechanism. A natural consequence of a recent theoretical proposal, a coupling between itinerant electrons and localised magnetic moments, is that the skyrmions are amenable to detection using even non-magnetic probes such as spectroscopic-imaging scanning tunnelling microscopy (SI-STM). Here SI-STM observations of GdRu2Si2 reveal patterns in the local density of states that indeed vary with the underlying magnetic structures. These patterns are qualitatively reproduced by model calculations which assume exchange coupling between itinerant electrons and localised moments. These findings provide a clue to understand the skyrmion formation mechanism in GdRu2Si2.

Nature Communications :