Sharing real-time information requires complex networks of systems. A promising approach for speeding up data storage devices consists of switching the magnetization, or the electrons' spin, of magnetic materials with ultra-short femtosecond laser pulses. But, how the spin evolves in the nanoworld on extremely short time scales, in one millionth of one billionth of a second, has remained largely mysterious. The team of Professor François Légaré at the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) has made a major breakthrough in this field, in collaboration with TU Wien, Austria, the French national synchrotron facility (SOLEIL) and other international partners. Their work was published in the journal Optica.
So far, studies on the subject strongly rely on limited access large X-ray facilities such as free-electron lasers and synchrotrons. The team demonstrates, for the first time, a tabletop ultrafast soft X-ray microscope to spatio-temporally resolve the spin dynamics inside rare earth materials, which are promising for spintronic devices.
This new soft X-ray source based on a high-energy Ytterbium laser represents a critical advance for studying future energy-efficient and high-speed spintronic devices and could be used for many applications in physics, chemistry, and biology.
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