The topological Hall effect (THE) has been discovered in ultrathin SrRuO3 (SRO) films, where the interface between the SRO layer and another oxide layer breaks the inversion symmetry resulting in the appearance of THE. Thus, THE only occurs in ultrathin SRO films of several unit cells. In addition to employing a heterostructure, the inversion symmetry can be broken intrinsically in bulk SRO by introducing defects. In this study, THE is observed in 60-nm-thick SRO films, in which defects and lattice distortions are introduced by helium ion irradiation. The irradiated SRO films exhibit a pronounced THE in a wide temperature range from 5 to 80 K. These observations can be attributed to the emergence of Dzyaloshinskii–Moriya interaction as a result of artificial inversion symmetry breaking associated with the lattice defect engineering. The creation and control of the THE in oxide single layers can be realized by ex situ film processing. Therefore, this work provides new insights into the THE and illustrates a promising strategy to design novel spintronic devices.
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