Ultrafast optical measurements of spin-polarized electron dynamics in nanostructured magnetic materials
Mohamad, Haidar Jawad
Date: 20 July 2015
University of Exeter
PhD in Physics
At present, electronic devices depend upon electric charge to transfer and record information. However, such devices are approaching a scaling limit due to Joule heating. Spintronics offers a solution by exploiting the spin rather than the charge of the electron, since the propagation of spin current can in principle occur without ...
At present, electronic devices depend upon electric charge to transfer and record information. However, such devices are approaching a scaling limit due to Joule heating. Spintronics offers a solution by exploiting the spin rather than the charge of the electron, since the propagation of spin current can in principle occur without dissipation. Immediate applications lie in magnetic random access memory and novel media for hard disk recording. Within this thesis, the Magneto-optical Kerr effect (MOKE) has been used to measure the static and dynamic magnetic properties of a number of different thin film samples that are of interest for spintronic applications. A femtosecond laser has been used to perform time-resolved MOKE (TRMOKE) and time resolved reflectivity (TRR) measurements simultaneously, which probe the spin and charge dynamics respectively. Measurements have been performed upon a continuous thin film of CrO2 that is known to be half-metallic in bulk form, and a series of YIG/Cu/Ni81Fe19 based structures that are expected to exhibit the spin Seebeck effect (SSE). Chemical vapour deposition (CVD) was used to fabricate the continuous CrO2 thin film on a (100)-oriented TiO2 substrate. Precessional magnetisation dynamics were studied by means of the TRMOKE technique. The dependence of the precession frequency and the effective damping parameter upon the static applied magnetic field were investigated. The precession frequency exhibited a minimum at the hard axis saturation field as expected. However precession was also observed for fields greater than the hard axis saturation value, perhaps suggesting the presence of a twisted magnetic state within the film. TRMOKE and TRR measurements were performed upon the YIG/Cu/Ni81Fe19 based structures for different values of the pump fluence and applied magnetic field. For fixed pump fluence and varying applied field, the frequency of precession is well described by a numerical solution of the Landau-Lifshitz equation for the Ni81Fe19 (permalloy, Py) layer. The frequency, amplitude, damping, phase and chirp of the precessional oscillations was extracted from measurements made with a field of 3 kOe applied at 2.8° from the normal to the sample plane, in a configuration designed to maximise any spin transfer torque (STT) generated by the SSE. The oscillation parameters extracted for trilayer samples and a Py reference sample were found to be very similar. Features indicative of STT predicted by simulations were not observed. This suggests that either the YIG/Cu interface was unable to efficiently transmit spin current within the samples studied here, or else that the STT generated by means of the SSE is too small to be of practical use.
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