Ultrafast generation of ferromagnetic order via a laser-induced phase transformation in FeRh thin films

Phys Rev Lett. 2004 Nov 5;93(19):197403. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.93.197403. Epub 2004 Nov 4.


It is demonstrated that ultrafast generation of ferromagnetic order can be achieved by driving a material from an antiferromagnetic to a ferromagnetic state using femtosecond optical pulses. Experimental proof is provided for chemically ordered FeRh thin films. A subpicosecond onset of induced ferromagnetism is followed by a slower increase over a period of about 30 ps when FeRh is excited above a threshold fluence. Both experiment and theory provide evidence that the underlying phase transformation is accompanied, but not driven, by a lattice expansion. The mechanism for the observed ultrafast magnetic transformation is identified to be the strong ferromagnetic exchange mediated via Rh moments induced by Fe spin fluctuations.