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RKKY Exchange Bias Mediated Ultrafast All-Optical Switching of a Ferromagnet


The discovery of ultrafast helicity-independent all-optical switching (HI-AOS), as well as picosecond all-electrical switching of a ferrimagnet, has inspired the ultrafast spintronics community to explore ultrafast switching of a ferromagnet to achieve practical ultrafast storage and memory devices. Two explored mechanisms of HI-AOS of a ferromagnet in ferromagnet-ferrimagnet heterostructure are: a) exploiting the indirect exchange coupling with and b) injection of non-local spin current originated from a switching ferrimagnet. In this manuscript, exchange mediated HI-AOS of a Ruderman–Kittel–Kasuya–Yosida (RKKY) exchange coupled “[Co/Pt]-multilayers/Pt spacer/CoGd” heterostructure is demonstrated. The authors have measured layer-resolved static magnetic properties, single-shot HI-AOS, and magnetization dynamics of the ferromagnetic Co/Pt multilayers (MLs), that are ferromagnetically or antiferromagnetically coupled with ferrimagnetic CoGd layers. Time-resolved magnetization dynamics reveal a 3.5 ps switching time of the Co/Pt MLs, which is the fastest switching of a ferromagnet reported to date. Employing an extended microscopic three-temperature model, the temporal dynamics of the exchange coupled ferromagnet–ferrimagnet heterostructure are simulated, qualitatively and quantitatively explaining the experimental switching phenomena. This work experimentally as well as theoretically establishes the mechanism of exchange mediated all-optical switching of ferromagnet-ferrimagnet heterostructures, which can be integrated with a magnetic tunnel junction for efficient reading after ultrafast energy-efficient switching.

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