It has been known for over two decades that it is possible to manipulate magnetic order using femtosecond laser pulses. Many groups have demonstrated that single laser pulses can demagnetise a magnet on the picosecond time-scale, with a subsequent recovery of the order proceeding as the sample cools. Such measurements are routinely made these days using a pump-probe setup and detecting a change in the magnetic order through the Kerr effect. However, the pump beam is often micrometres across, hence what is measured is a spatial average. Just how the magnetic structure changes on the nanometre length-scale has, until now, not been well understood.
In a recent article in Nature Communications, in collaboration with several groups across the world, we have recently demonstrated how these magnetic structures vary across the nano-metre to micrometre length-scale and from the femto-second to nano-second time-scale. We have found “evidence of a universal rapid magnetic order recovery in ferrimagnets with perpendicular magnetic anisotropy via nonlinear magnon processes. We identify magnon localisation and coalescence processes, whereby localised magnetic textures nucleate and subsequently interact and grow in accordance with a power law formalism”.