Skyrmions, topologically protected, particle-like "whorls" of magnetization, are a promising platform for extremely low-power spintronic memory and information processing due to the ease with which they can be manipulated. Lately, cost-effective methods of preparing skyrmion-hosting materials have been developed, adding to their attractiveness for technological applications.
In this talk I will briefly describe skyrmion magnetization structures and how they arise in magnetic materials. Skyrmion stability and responses to small spin polarized currents and other driving mechanisms will be discussed. This skyrmion behavior is relevant to non-volatile memory applications akin to magnetic domain wall racetrack memories. I will also present my work on sputter deposition and low-temperature measurement of skyrmion-hosting MnSi thin films. These will be compared to MBE-grown and thinned single crystal films of the same material. I will conclude with descriptions of a few material systems that are promising for applying new methods of direct skyrmion observation.