Ultrafast magnetization enhancement in metallic multilayers driven by superdiffusive spin current

Nat Commun. 2012;3:1037. doi: 10.1038/ncomms2029.

Abstract

Uncovering the physical mechanisms that govern ultrafast charge and spin dynamics is crucial for understanding correlated matter as well as the fundamental limits of ultrafast spin-based electronics. Spin dynamics in magnetic materials can be driven by ultrashort light pulses, resulting in a transient drop in magnetization within a few hundred femtoseconds. However, a full understanding of femtosecond spin dynamics remains elusive. Here we spatially separate the spin dynamics using Ni/Ru/Fe magnetic trilayers, where the Ni and Fe layers can be ferro- or antiferromagnetically coupled. By exciting the layers with a laser pulse and probing the magnetization response simultaneously but separately in Ni and Fe, we surprisingly find that optically induced demagnetization of the Ni layer transiently enhances the magnetization of the Fe layer when the two layer magnetizations are initially aligned parallel. Our observations are explained by a laser-generated superdiffusive spin current between the layers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.