Role of electron and phonon temperatures in the helicity-independent all-optical switching of GdFeCo

J. Gorchon, R. B. Wilson, Y. Yang, A. Pattabi, J. Y. Chen, L. He, J. P. Wang, M. Li, József Bokor

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27 Scopus citations

Abstract

Ultrafast optical heating of the electrons in ferrimagnetic metals can result in all-optical switching (AOS) of the magnetization. Here we report quantitative measurements of the temperature rise of GdFeCo thin films during helicity-independent AOS. Critical switching fluences are obtained as a function of the initial temperature of the sample and for laser pulse durations from 55 fs to 15 ps. We conclude that non-equilibrium phenomena are necessary for helicity-independent AOS, although the peak electron temperature does not play a critical role. These results raise new questions about the fundamental mechanism of helicity-independent AOS.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Volume94
Issue number18
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

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