The two-dimensional Heisenberg exchange model with out-of-plane anisotropy and a Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction is employed to investigate the lifetime and stability of antiferromagnetic (AFM) skyrmions as a function of temperature and external magnetic field. An isolated AFM skyrmion is metastable at zero temperature in a certain parameter range set by two boundaries separating the skyrmion state from the uniform AFM phase and a stripe domain phase. The distribution of the energy barriers for the AFM skyrmion decay into the uniform AFM state complements the zero-temperature stability diagram and demonstrates that the skyrmion stability region is significantly narrowed at finite temperatures. We show that the AFM skyrmion stability can be enhanced by an application of magnetic field, whose strength is comparable to the spin-flop field. This stabilization of AFM skyrmions in external magnetic fields is in sharp contrast to the behavior of their ferromagnetic counterparts. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the AFM skyrmions are stable on timescales of milliseconds below 50 K for realistic material parameters, making it feasible to observe them in modern experiments.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics