Laser-induced intersite spin transfer

John Kay Dewhurst, Peter Elliott, Sam Shallcross, Eberhard K.U. Gross, Sangeeta Sharma*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


Laser pulses induce spin-selective charge flow that we show to generate dramatic changes in the magnetic structure of materials, including a switching of magnetic order from antiferromagnetic (AFM) to transient ferromagnetic (FM) in multisub-lattice systems. The microscopic mechanism underpinning this ultrafast switching of magnetic order is dominated by spin-selective charge transfer from one magnetic sublattice to another. Because this spin modulation is purely optical in nature (i.e., not mediated indirectly via the spin−orbit interaction) this is one of the fastest means of manipulating spin by light. We further demonstrate this mechanism to be universally applicable to AFM, FM, and ferri-magnets in both multilayer and bulk geometry and provide three rules that encapsulate early-time magnetization dynamics of multisub-lattice systems.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1842-1848
Number of pages7
JournalNano Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - 14 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 American Chemical Society.


  • Ab initio theory
  • Multilayers
  • Optical switching
  • Ultrafast spin manipulation


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