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All-optical switching in granular ferromagnets caused by magnetic circular dichroism.

  • Author(s): Ellis, Matthew OA
  • Fullerton, Eric E
  • Chantrell, Roy W
  • et al.

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Magnetic recording using circularly polarised femto-second laser pulses is an emerging technology that would allow write speeds much faster than existing field driven methods. However, the mechanism that drives the magnetisation switching in ferromagnets is unclear. Recent theories suggest that the interaction of the light with the magnetised media induces an opto-magnetic field within the media, known as the inverse Faraday effect. Here we show that an alternative mechanism, driven by thermal excitation over the anisotropy energy barrier and a difference in the energy absorption depending on polarisation, can create a net magnetisation over a series of laser pulses in an ensemble of single domain grains. Only a small difference in the absorption is required to reach magnetisation levels observed experimentally and the model does not preclude the role of the inverse Faraday effect but removes the necessity that the opto-magnetic field is 10 s of Tesla in strength.

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