Voltage-driven annihilation and creation of magnetic vortices in Ni discs
Using photoemission electron microscopy (PEEM) to image ferromagnetism in polycrystalline Ni disks, and ferroelectricity in their single-crystal BaTiO3 substrates, we find that voltage-driven 90 ferroelectric domain switching serves to reversibly annihilate each magnetic vortex via uniaxial compressive strain, and that the orientation of the resulting bi domain reveals the chirality of the annihilated vortex. (Micromagnetic simulations reveal that only 60% of this strain was required for annihilation.) Voltage control of magnetic vortices is novel, and should be energetically favourable with respect to the use of a magnetic field or an electrical current. In future, stray field from bi domains could be exploited to read vortex chirality. Given that core polarity can already be read via stray field, our work represents a step towards four-state low power memory applications.