Ultrafast high-harmonic nanoscopy of magnetization dynamics

Sergey Zayko*, Ofer Kfir, Michael Heigl, Michael Lohmann, Murat Sivis, Manfred Albrecht, Claus Ropers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Light-induced magnetization changes, such as all-optical switching, skyrmion nucleation, and intersite spin transfer, unfold on temporal and spatial scales down to femtoseconds and nanometers, respectively. Pump-probe spectroscopy and diffraction studies indicate that spatio-temporal dynamics may drastically affect the non-equilibrium magnetic evolution. Yet, direct real-space magnetic imaging on the relevant timescales has remained challenging. Here, we demonstrate ultrafast high-harmonic nanoscopy employing circularly polarized high-harmonic radiation for real-space imaging of femtosecond magnetization dynamics. We map quenched magnetic domains and localized spin structures in Co/Pd multilayers with a sub-wavelength spatial resolution down to 16 nm, and strobosocopically trace the local magnetization dynamics with 40 fs temporal resolution. Our compact experimental setup demonstrates the highest spatio-temporal resolution of magneto-optical imaging to date. Facilitating ultrafast imaging with high sensitivity to chiral and linear dichroism, we envisage a wide range of applications spanning magnetism, phase transitions, and carrier dynamics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6337
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2021


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