Strategies for the ultrafast optical control of magnetism have been a topic of intense research for several decades because of the potential impact in technologies such as magnetic memory1, spintronics2 and quantum computation, as well as the opportunities for nonlinear optical control and modulation3 in applications such as optical isolation and non-reciprocity4. Here we report experimental quantification of optically induced magnetization in plasmonic gold nanoparticles due to the inverse Faraday effect. The induced magnetic moment is large under typical ultrafast pulse excitation (<1014 W m−2 peak intensity), with magnetization and demagnetization kinetics that are instantaneous within the subpicosecond time resolution of our study. Our results support a mechanism of coherent transfer of angular momentum from the optical field to the electron gas, and open the door to all-optical subwavelength strategies for optical isolation that do not require externally applied magnetic fields.
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We acknowledge the technical support of D. Rossi. This work was funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation through grant no. GBMF6882 and by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research under award no. FA9550-16-1-0154. M.S. also acknowledges support from the Welch Foundation (A-1886). D.H.S. appreciates support from the Institute for Basic Science (IBS-R026-D1).
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Cheng, O.H., Son, D.H. & Sheldon, M. Light-induced magnetism in plasmonic gold nanoparticles. Nat. Photonics 14, 365–368 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41566-020-0603-3
The Journal of Physical Chemistry C (2020)