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J Phys Condens Matter. 2019 Mar 27;31(12):124002. doi: 10.1088/1361-648X/aafd06. Epub 2019 Jan 9.

Magneto-optical properties of Au upon the injection of hot spin-polarized electrons across Fe/Au(0 0 1) interfaces.

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Institute of Molecules and Materials of Le Mans, CNRS UMR 6283, 72085 Le Mans, France.


We demonstrate a novel method for the excitation of sizable magneto-optical effects in Au by means of the laser-induced injection of hot spin-polarized electrons in Au/Fe/MgO(0 0 1) heterostructures. It is based on the energy- and spin-dependent electron transmittance of Fe/Au interface which acts as a spin filter for non-thermalized electrons optically excited in Fe. We show that after crossing the interface, majority electrons propagate through the Au layer with the velocity on the order of 1 nm fs-1 (close to the Fermi velocity) and the decay length on the order of 100 nm. Featuring ultrafast functionality and requiring no strong external magnetic fields, spin injection results in a distinct magneto-optical response of Au. We develop a formalism based on the phase of the transient complex MOKE response and demonstrate its robustness in a plethora of experimental and theoretical MOKE studies on Au, including our ab initio calculations. Our work introduces a flexible tool to manipulate magneto-optical properties of metals on the femtosecond timescale that holds high potential for active magneto-photonics, plasmonics, and spintronics.


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