From SLAC: “X-ray Laser Explores How to Write Data with Light”

March 19, 2013
Glenn Roberts Jr.

“Using laser light to read and write magnetic data by quickly flipping tiny magnetic domains could help keep pace with the demand for faster computing devices.

A look inside the RCI sample chamber while researchers close up the chamber for vacuum for an experiment at LCLS. (Credit: Diling Zhu/SLAC)

Now experiments with SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray laser have given scientists their first detailed look at how light controls the first trillionth of a second of this process, known as all-optical magnetic switching.

The experiments show that the optically induced switching of the magnetic regions begins much faster than conventional switching and proceeds in a more complex way than scientists had thought – a level of detail long sought by the data storage industry, which is eager to learn more about the key drivers of optical switching. The new insight could help guide efforts to engineer materials that better control and speed this process.

Group photo of researchers who participated in an all-optical magnetic switching experiment at the Linac Coherent Light Source. (Credit: SLAC)


‘This is really one of the first examples of new materials science that can be done with LCLS, which allows you to look at very short time scales and very small length scales,’ said Hermann Dürr, a staff scientist for the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences (SIMES) and a principal investigator of the multinational team that performed the experiment, detailed in the March 17 issue of Nature Materials. SIMES is a joint institute of SLAC and Stanford.”

See the full article here.

SLAC Campus
SLAC is a multi-program laboratory exploring frontier questions in photon science, astrophysics, particle physics and accelerator research. Located in Menlo Park, California, SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the DOE’s Office of Science.

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