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Nat Commun. 2011 Jun 21;2:362. doi: 10.1038/ncomms1366.

The vectorial control of magnetization by light.

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  • 1Department of Applied Physics, The University of Tokyo and Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan.


Application of coherent light-matter interactions has recently been extended to the ultrafast control of magnetization. An important but unrealized technique is the manipulation of magnetization vector motion to make it follow an arbitrarily designed multidimensional trajectory. Here we demonstrate a full manipulation of two-dimensional magnetic oscillations in antiferromagnetic NiO with a pair of polarization-twisted femtosecond laser pulses. We employ Raman-type nonlinear optical processes, wherein magnetic oscillations are impulsively induced with a controlled initial phase. Their azimuthal angle follows well-defined selection rules that have been determined by the symmetries of the materials. We emphasize that the temporal variation of the laser-pulse polarization angle enables us to control the phase and amplitude of the two degenerate modes, independently. These results lead to a new concept of the vectorial control of magnetization by light.

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