All-optical ultrafast magnetization switching in magnetic material thin film without the assistance of an applied external magnetic field is explored for future ultrafast and energy-efficient magnetic storage and memories. It is shown that femtosecond (fs) light pulses induce magnetization reversal in a large variety of magnetic materials. However, so far, only GdFeCo-based ferri-magnetic thin films exhibit magnetization switching via a single optical pulseHere, the single-pulse switching of Co/Pt multilayers within a magnetic spin-valve structure ([Co/Pt]/Cu/GdFeCo) is demonstrated and four possible magnetic configurations of the spin valve can be accessed using a sequence of single fs light pulses. The experimental study reveals that the magnetization final state of the ferromagnetic [Co/Pt] layer is determined by spin-polar-ized currents generated by the light pulse interactions with the GdFeCo layer. This work provides an approach to deterministically switch ferromagnetic layers and a pathway to engineering materials for opto-magnetic multi-bit recording.
- All-optical magnetization switching
- Magnetic recording
- Ultrafast transfer of angular momentum