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Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 55 | 27. August 2020
Priority Programme “Skyrmionics: Topological Spin Phenomena in Real-Space for Applications” (SPP 2137)

In 2017, the Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) established the Priority Programme “Skyrmionics: Topological Spin Phenomena in Real-Space for Applications” (SPP 2137). The programme is designed to run for six years. The present call invites proposals for the second three-year funding period.

The main objective of the Priority Programme concerns fundamental research towards the development of devices and applications based on topological spin solitons in real space, alluding to skyrmions as most prominent examples. It is motivated by the discovery of skyrmion lattices and isolated skyrmions in magnetic materials exhibiting bulk or interface inversion-asymmetry and associated Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interactions. Skyrmions can be found in bulk compounds and tailored thin film and nano-systems. Early studies of the fundamental properties of skyrmion systems have revealed strong effects of Berry phases that may be described by emerging electric and magnetic fields. Recent advances focus in addition on skyrmions in antiferromagnetic and geometrically frustrated materials, tailored creation and decay routes of skyrmions, the dynamical properties of skyrmions, and skyrmions in the quantum limit as well as avenues towards more sophisticated topological textures such as hopfions.

Experimental and theoretical evidence that thin films, nano-wires and nano-dots are particularly amenable to the formation of topological spin solitons, underscore their potential for major breakthroughs in applications. Moreover, advances in thin-film heterostructures demonstrate that skyrmions stabilised by interface-mediated Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interactions as well as further stabilisation mechanisms may be tailored for applications at room temperature.

The main aspects to be addressed within the programme concern non-trivial topological characteristics (e.g. skyrmions, antiskyrmions, hopfions, hybrid-particles composed of skyrmions and magnetic singularities) and associated solitonic properties stabilised by anti-symmetric (chiral) spin-orbit coupling as well as further interactions.

The Priority Programme is broadly organised in three research areas:

  • new materials classes and stabilisation mechanisms of static and dynamic properties of topological spin solitons
  • topological spin solitons in nanostructured systems
  • topological spin solitons in artificial composite systems

pursuing the following milestones:

  • identification of new stabilisation mechanisms and materials classes, including frustration, disorder and other forms of competing interactions
  • determination of the fundamental properties of topological solitons in view of novel functionalities
  • tailored design of topological spin phenomena in thin films including bulk samples in the thin film limit
  • creation, destruction and external manipulation of skyrmions and related topological spin phenomena in nano-structured systems amenable for applications
  • exploration of low-energy transport, dynamical properties and tailored excitations in bulk materials, nano-structures and artificial composite systems beyond multilayers
  • creation of novel hybrid architectures bringing together non-trivial topological textures in real and reciprocal space

The Priority Programme has an interdisciplinary character. It aims to connect the spintronics community with fundamental research on new materials, as well as engineering, mathematics and chemistry related aspects. The progress on skyrmionics is gained through mathematical reasoning, micromagnetic and atomistic simulations, computational and theoretical condensed matter physics, cutting edge synthesis techniques, advanced and highly specialised imaging and characterisation methods, supplemented with engineering strategies developed for the design of nano-electronic devices.

The Priority Programme encourages a broader exchange of scientific ideas and concepts with areas such as particle and nuclear physics, quantum Hall systems and soft matter (polymers and liquid crystals). However, specific proposals from these communities are not in the focus of the programme.

For organisational reasons all those considering to submit an application are kindly requested to send an outline of their proposal for the second three-year funding period in electronic form (pdf-file) to the DFG-office (Link auf E-Mailellen.reister@dfg.de ) and the coordinator (Link auf E-Mailchristian.pfleiderer@frm2.tum.de ) by 1 September 2020. The outline, with a maximum length of one page, should contain a short description of the project, an assignment to one of the three research areas, information about the applicants, and registration for the networking meeting. The submission of a proposal outline is voluntary and non-committing.

A networking meeting (participation optional) with short presentations of the planned projects and subsequent discussions, will take place on 3 and 4 September 2020 at the Physik-Zentrum in Bad Honnef; electronic participation is possible, in case travel restrictions apply. Detailed information may be requested from the DFG office, or the programme coordinator, or may be found at the website of the Priority Programme (see below).

Proposals must be written in English and submitted to the DFG by 16 November 2020. Please note that proposals can only be submitted via elan, the DFG’s electronic proposal processing system.

Applicants must be registered in elan prior to submitting a proposal to the DFG. If you have not yet registered, please note that you must do so by 5 November 2020 to submit a proposal under this call; registration requests received after this time cannot be considered. You will normally receive confirmation of your registration by the next working day. Note that you will be asked to select the appropriate Priority Programme call during both the registration and the proposal process.

If you would like to submit a proposal for a new project within the existing Priority Programme, please go to Proposal Submission – New Project – Priority Programmes and select “SPP 2137” from the current list of calls. Previous applicants can submit a proposal for the renewal of an existing project under Proposal Submission – Proposal Overview/Renewal Proposal.

In preparing your proposal, please review the programme guidelines (form 50.05, section B) and follow the proposal preparation instructions (form 54.01). These forms can either be downloaded from our website or accessed through the elan portal. In addition to submitting your proposal via elan, please send an electronic copy to the programme coordinator.

The review colloquium for the Priority Programme will be held on 4 and 5 March 2021 at the Physik-Zentrum in Bad Honnef (arrival on 3 March 2021 in the evening).

Further Information

More information on the Priority Programme is available under:

The elan system can be accessed at:

DFG forms 50.05 and 54.01 can be downloaded at:

For scientific enquiries please contact the Priority Programme coordinator:

  • Professor Dr. Christian Pfleiderer,
    Technische Universität München (TUM),
    Physik-Department, Arbeitsgruppe Topologie korrelierter Systeme,
    James-Franck-Str. 1, 85748 Garching,
    phone +49 89 289-14720,
    Link auf E-Mailchristian.pfleiderer@frm2.tum.de

Questions on the DFG proposal process can be directed to:


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