Direct imaging of an inhomogeneous electric current distribution using the trajectory of magnetic half-skyrmions

Senfu Zhang, Xichao Zhang, Junwei Zhang, Arnab Ganguly, Jing Xia, Yan Wen, Qiang Zhang, Guoqiang Yu, Zhipeng Hou, Wenhong Wang, Yong Peng, Gang Xiao, Aurelien Manchon, Jürgen Kosel, Yan Zhou, Xixiang Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The direct imaging of current density vector distributions in thin films has remained a daring challenge. Here, we report that an inhomogeneous current distribution can be mapped directly by the trajectories of magnetic half-skyrmions driven by an electrical current in Pt/Co/Ta trilayer, using polar magneto-optical Kerr microscopy. The half-skyrmion carries a topological charge of 0.5 due to the presence of Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction, which leads to the half-skyrmion Hall effect. The Hall angle of half-skyrmions is independent of current density and can be reduced to as small as 4° by tuning the thickness of the Co layer. The Hall angle is so small that the elongation path of half-skyrmion approximately delineates the invisible current flow as demonstrated in both a continuous film and a curved track. Our work provides a practical technique to directly map inhomogeneous current distribution even in complex geometries for both fundamental research and industrial applications.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)eaay1876
JournalScience Advances
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 8 2020

Cite this