Stability of skyrmion textures and the role of thermal fluctuations in cubic helimagnets: A new intermediate phase at low temperature.
The stability of the four known stationary points of the cubic helimagnet energy functional: the ferromagnetic state, the conical helix, the conical helicoid, and the skyrmion lattice, is studied by solving the corresponding spectral problem. The only stable points are the ferromagnetic state at high magnetic field and the conical helix at low field, and there is no metastable state. Thermal fluctuations around the stationary point, included to quadratic order in the saddle point expansion, destabilize the conical helix in a region where the ferromagnetic state is unstable. Thus, a new intermediate phase appears which, in a region of the phase diagram, is a skyrmion lattice stabilized by thermal fluctuations. The skyrmion lattice lost the stability by lowering temperature, and a new intermediate phase of unknown type, presumably with three-dimensional modulations, appears in the lower temperature region.