The manipulation of magnetization in materials through the use of intense laser pulses has long been a subject of interest for researchers. Traditionally, this has been achieved through thermally induced effects, where the absorbed laser energy rapidly heats up the material, leading to changes in its magnetic order. However, a recent study conducted by scientists from the Max Born Institute (MBI) has brought to light a groundbreaking non-thermal approach to generating significant magnetization changes using circularly polarized pulses of extreme ultraviolet (XUV) radiation.

The key to this innovative method lies in the inverse Faraday effect (IFE), which allows for the efficient interaction between the polarization of the XUV light and the magnetic moments within the material. Unlike traditional thermal mechanisms, the IFE does not rely on the absorption of light to induce changes in magnetization. Instead, it enables a direct, coherent interaction that can result in substantial magnetization alterations depending on the handedness of the circularly polarized XUV pulses.

In their experiments, the international team of researchers, led by scientists from MBI, utilized circularly polarized femtosecond pulses of XUV radiation generated at the free-electron laser FERMI. By exposing a ferrimagnetic iron-gadolinium (FeGd) alloy to these pulses, they were able to demonstrate a remarkably strong IFE-induced magnetization effect. This was made possible by the high photon energy of the XUV radiation, which allowed for resonant excitation of core-level electrons in the material, leading to significant opto-magnetic responses.

The implications of these findings are far-reaching, especially in the fields of ultrafast magnetism, spintronics, and coherent magnetization control. By providing a non-thermal method for generating substantial magnetization changes on ultrafast time scales, this research opens up new possibilities for the development of advanced data storage technologies and other applications that require rapid manipulation of magnetic properties.

The utilization of XUV radiation for controlling magnetization represents a significant advancement in the field of ultrafast optics. By leveraging the principles of the inverse Faraday effect, researchers have been able to achieve unprecedented levels of magnetization control without the need for thermal effects. This research paves the way for further exploration of non-thermal mechanisms for manipulating magnetic properties and holds promise for the development of next-generation technologies that rely on precise magnetization control.

Physics

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