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Keywords:

  • time-resolved optical spectroscopy;
  • magneto-optics;
  • ultrafast magnetization dynamics;
  • coherent optical control

Abstract

This review summarizes the recent progress in the study of ultrafast nonthermal effects of light on magnetic materials. It is demonstrated that due to opto-magnetic phenomena an intense 100 fs circularly polarized laser pulse acts on the spins similar to an equivalently short effective magnetic field pulse up to 1 T. The review shows that using such opto-magnetic phenomena one may selectively excite different modes of magnetic resonance, realize quantum control of magnons, trigger magnetic phase transitions and switch spins on a subpicosecond time-scale. All these findings open new insights into the understanding of ultrafast magnetic excitation and, considering recent progress in the development of compact ultrafast lasers, may provide new prospects for applications of ultrafast opto-magnetic phenomena in magnetic storage and information processing technology.