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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Ultrafast magnetic memory bits using all-optical magnetic switching

  • Author(s): El-Ghazaly, A
  • O'Mahoney, D
  • Lambert, CH
  • Gorchon, J
  • Brown, PN
  • Pattabi, A
  • Wong, HSP
  • Bokor, J
  • et al.

© 2017 IEEE. Up until now, magnetic nanodots used for magnetic random access memory have required spin-polarized currents to transfer the angular momentum needed to switch the magnetization and thereby switch the magnetic memory bit. This particular switching process, however, is limited to nanosecond or greater timescales-too slow for use as low-level cache in energy efficient electronics systems. On the other hand, this work aims to achieve ultrafast femtosecond switching of nanomagnetic dots without the use of spin-polarized currents. Using just linearly polarized light, several research groups have demonstrated all-optical magnetization switching in large GdFeCo magnetic dots, ranging from several microns [1-4] down to 400 nm [5]; this work characterizes the switching behavior as these dots are scaled down further in size, with the aim of minimizing the energy required for switching the magnetic memory bit. The fabrication process, magnetization behavior and optical switching behavior are additionally characterized to better understand how size affects the functionality of these optically-switchable ferrimagnets. Knowledge of this behavior will allow future developments of simultaneously ultrasmall and ultrafast magnetic memory systems, thereby enabling increased data storage in future electronics.

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