Two-dimensional skyrmion bags in liquid crystals and ferromagnets

David Foster, Charles Kind, Paul J Ackerman, Jung-Shen B Tai, Mark Dennis*, Ivan I Smalyukh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter (Academic Journal)peer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)
313 Downloads (Pure)


Reconfigurable, ordered matter offers great potential for future low-power computer memory by storing information in energetically stable configurations. Among these, skyrmions—which are topologically protected, robust excitations that have been demonstrated in chiral magnets 1–4 and in liquid crystals 5–7 —are driving much excitement about potential spintronic applications 8 . These information-encoding structures topologically resemble field configurations in many other branches of physics and have a rich history 9 , although chiral condensed-matter systems so far have yielded realizations only of elementary full and fractional skyrmions. Here we describe stable, high-degree multi-skyrmion configurations where an arbitrary number of antiskyrmions are contained within a larger skyrmion. We call these structures skyrmion bags. We demonstrate them experimentally and numerically in liquid crystals and numerically in micromagnetic simulations either without or with magnetostatic effects. We find that skyrmion bags act like single skyrmions in pairwise interaction and under the influence of current in magnetic materials, and are thus an exciting proposition for topological magnetic storage and logic devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)655-659
Number of pages5
JournalNature Physics
Issue number7
Early online date1 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019

Structured keywords



  • Liquid crystals
  • Spintronics
  • Structure of solids and liquids


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