Absorption and generation of femtosecond laser-pulse excited spin currents in noncollinear magnetic bilayers

M.L.M. Lalieu, P.L.J. Helgers, B. Koopmans

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Spin currents can be generated on an ultrafast time scale by excitation of a ferromagnetic (FM) thin film with a femtosecond laser pulse. Recently, it has been demonstrated that these ultrafast spin currents can transport angular momentum to neighboring FM layers, being able to change both the magnitude and orientation of the magnetization in the adjacent layer. In this paper, both the generation and absorption of these optically excited spin currents are investigated. This is done using noncollinear magnetic bilayers, i.e., two FM layers separated by a conductive spacer. Spin currents are generated in a Co/Ni multilayer with out-of-plane (OOP) anisotropy, and absorbed by a Co layer with an in-plane (IP) anisotropy. This behavior is confirmed by careful analysis of the laser-pulse induced magnetization dynamics, whereafter it is demonstrated that the transverse spin current is absorbed very locally near the injection interface of the IP layer (90% within the first ≈2 nm). Moreover, it will also be shown that this local absorption results in the excitation of THz standing spin waves within the IP layer. The dispersion measured for these high-frequency spin waves shows a discrepancy with respect to the theoretical predictions, for which an explanation involving intermixed interface regions is proposed. Lastly, the spin current generation is investigated by using magnetic bilayers with a different number of repeats for the Co/Ni multilayer, which proves to be of great relevance for identifying the optical spin current generation mechanism.
Original languageEnglish
Article number014417
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2017


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