Comparing all-optical switching in synthetic-ferrimagnetic multilayers and alloys

Maarten Beens (Corresponding author), Mark L.M. Lalieu, Axel J.M. Deenen, Rembert A. Duine, Bert Koopmans

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We present an experimental and theoretical investigation of all-optical switching by single femtosecond laser pulses. Our experimental results demonstrate that, unlike rare-earth transition-metal ferrimagnetic alloys, Pt/Co/[Ni/Co]N/Gd
can be switched in the absence of a magnetization compensation temperature, indicative for strikingly different switching conditions. In order to understand the underlying mechanism, we model the laser-induced magnetization dynamics in Co/Gd bilayers and GdCo alloys on an equal footing, using an extension of the microscopic three-temperature model to multiple magnetic sublattices and including exchange scattering. In agreement with our experimental observations, the model shows that Co/Gd bilayers can be switched for a thickness of the Co layer far away from compensating the total Co and Gd magnetic moment. We identify the switching mechanism in Co/Gd bilayers as a front of reversed Co magnetization that nucleates near the Co/Gd interface and propagates through the Co layer driven by exchange scattering.
Original languageEnglish
Article number220409
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 26 Dec 2019


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