It is well known that the Gilbert relaxation time of a magnetic moment scales inversely with the magnitude of the externally applied field, H, and the Gilbert damping, α. Therefore, in ultrashort optical pulses, where H can temporarily reach high amplitudes, the Gilbert relaxation time can momentarily be extremely short, reaching even picosecond timescales. Here we show that for strong enough ultrashort pulses, the magnetization can respond within the optical cycle such that the optical control of the magnetization emerges by merely considering the optical magnetic field in the Landau-Lifshitz-Gilbert (LLG) equation. Surprisingly, when circularly polarized optical pulses are introduced, an optically induced helicity-dependent torque results. We find that the strength of the interaction is determined by η=αγH/fopt, where fopt and γ are the optical frequency and gyromagnetic ratio, respectively. Our results illustrate the generality of the LLG equation to the optical limit and the pivotal role of the Gilbert damping in the general interaction between optical magnetic fields and spins in solids.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2024 authors. Published by the American Physical Society. Published by the American Physical Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. Further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the published article's title, journal citation, and DOI.