Impact of local order and stoichiometry on the ultrafast magnetization dynamics of Heusler compounds

Daniel Steil, Oliver Schmitt, Roman Fetzer, Takahide Kubota, Hiroshi Naganuma, Mikihiko Oogane, Yasuo Ando, Steven Rodan, Christian G.F. Blum, Benjamin Balke, Sabine Wurmehl, Martin Aeschlimann, Mirko Cinchetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Nowadays, a wealth of information on ultrafast magnetization dynamics of thin ferromagnetic films exists in the literature. Information is, however, scarce on bulk single crystals, which may be especially important for the case of multi-sublattice systems. In Heusler compounds, representing prominent examples for such multi-sublattice systems, off-stoichiometry and degree of order can significantly change the magnetic properties of thin films, while bulk single crystals may be generally produced with a much more well-defined stoichiometry and a higher degree of ordering. A careful characterization of the local structure of thin films versus bulk single crystals combined with ultrafast demagnetization studies can, thus, help to understand the impact of stoichiometry and order on ultrafast spin dynamics. Here, we present a comparative study of the structural ordering and magnetization dynamics for thin films and bulk single crystals of the family of Heusler alloys with composition Co2Fe1 - xMnxSi. The local ordering is studied by 59Co nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, while the time-resolved magneto-optical Kerr effect gives access to the ultrafast magnetization dynamics. In the NMR studies we find significant differences between bulk single crystals and thin films, both regarding local ordering and stoichiometry. The ultrafast magnetization dynamics, on the other hand, turns out to be mostly unaffected by the observed structural differences, especially on the time scale of some hundreds of femtoseconds. These results confirm hole-mediated spin-flip processes as the main mechanism for ultrafast demagnetization and the robustness of this demagnetization channel against defect states in the minority band gap as well as against the energetic position of the band gap with respect to the Fermi energy. The very small differences observed in the magnetization dynamics on the picosecond time-scale, on the other hand, can be explained by considering the differences in the electronic structure at the Fermi energy and in the heat diffusion of thin films and bulk crystals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number164016
JournalJournal of Physics D: Applied Physics
Volume48
Issue number16
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Apr 29

Keywords

  • Heusler compounds
  • nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy
  • time-resolved magneto-optical Kerr effect
  • ultrafast magnetization dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films

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