Controlling Magnetism with Light in Space and Time

Hermann Dürr
Hermann Dürr. Photo: Mikael Wallerstedt.

The Swedish Research Council took decision on November 1, 2018 on project grants and starting grants on Natural and Engineering Sciences. The Department of Physics and Astronomy is granted 34 980 000 SEK for the period 2018-2022 for in total seven project grants and three starting grants. The projects will begin during 2019.

Project Description

Project title: Controlling Magnetism with Light in Space and Time
Main applicant: Hermann Dürr, FREIA
Grant amount: 3 456 000 SEK for the period 2019-2022
Funder: Project grant from the Swedish Research Council

Modern science is founded on the principles for conservation of energy, linear and angular momentum. Their impact on our understanding of matter in states very far from equilibrium is particularly important as the theoretical description of such states is still in its infancy. While energy and linear momentum conservation is actively employed to understand ultrafast phenomena for processes ranging from catalysis to photosynthesis, the conservation of angular momentum plays a dominant role in ultrafast magnetism relevant for information technology.

We will investigate, in close collaboration between experiment and theory, how energy and angular momentum is transferred non-locally between various magnetic sub-systems and across interfaces. Of particular interest will be to understand when and how these transfer processes are mediated by the magnetic interactions such as exchange and spin-orbit coupling and lead to all-optical magnetic switching. The timely understanding of these phenomena can lead to the development of promising alternatives to magnetic data storage technologies.

We will also investigate if, how and on what timescale angular momentum can be exchanged between electron spins and the crystalline lattice. The answer to this question is expected to have a similar impact on modern science like the original 1915 Einstein-de Haas experiment that first demonstrated the equivalence of spin and lattice angular momentum and their conversion into each other.

Last modified: 2023-03-24