Ultra-fast magnetic switching with the ability to replace fiber optical communication


Sincerely: Trinity College Dublin

Researchers at CRANN and Trinity’s School of Physics have discovered that a new material can act as a super-fast magnetic switch.


When struck by successive ultra-short laser pulses, it exhibits “toggle switching”, which can increase the capacity of a global fiber optic cable network by an order of magnitude.

Expand internet capacity

Switching between two states – 0 and 1 is the backbone of digital technology and the Internet. The vast majority of all data we download is stored magnetically in vast data centers around the world, linked by a network of optical fibers.

The barriers to moving forward with the Internet are threefold, especially the speed and energy consumption of semiconductor or magnetic switches that store the capacity of our data and fiber optic networks to process and handle it.

The new discovery of ultra-fast toggle switching using laser light on films such as mirrors such as manganese, ruthenium, and alloys of gallium can help with all three problems.

Not only does light give a great advantage when it comes to motion, but the magnetic switch requires no power to maintain its state. More importantly, they now offer the possibility of rapid time-domain multiplexing of existing fiber networks, which can enable it to handle ten times as much data.

The science behind magnetic switching

While working in the Photonics Laboratory at CRANN, Trinity’s Nanoscience Research Center, Drs. Chandrima Banerjee and Drs. Jean Bessbus used ultra-fast laser pulses to switch the magnetization of thin films of only one hundred femuloseconds (ten thousand billionths of a second). MRG forwards and backwards. The direction of magnetism can point in or out of the film.

With each successive laser pulse, it suddenly swings its direction. Each pulse is assumed to heat the electrons in the MRG by about 1,000 degrees, which leads to a flip of its magnetization. The discovery of MRG’s ultra-fast toggle switching has just been published in the leading international magazine, Nature communication.

Senior Research Fellow in the “Magnetism and Spin Electronics Group” at Trinity’s School of Physics, Drs. Karsten Road suggests the discovery is just the beginning of an exciting new research direction.

Dr. Rhode said: “We have a lot of work to do to fully understand the behavior of electrons of solids and atoms that are off balance over a femtosecond timescale. In particular, how to have magnetism so quickly while following the fundamental The law of physics that states that angular momentum must be preserved? In the spirit of our spintronics team, we will now gather data from new pulsed-laser experiments and other materials on MRGs to better understand these dynamics And ultra-fast optical links. Reaction with electronic transport. We plan experiments with ultra-fast electronic pulses to test the hypothesis that the core of toggle switching is purely thermal. ”

The following year, Chandrima continued his work at the University of Israel, Haifa, with a group that could produce fewer laser pulses. Trinity researchers led by Kirsten have planned a new joint project with collaborators in the Netherlands, France, Norway and Switzerland, aiming to prove the concept of ultra-fast, time-domain multiplexing of fiber-optic channels.


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more information:
C. Banerjee et al. Single pulse all-optical toggle switching of magnetization with geranium in ferrimagnet Mn2RuxGa, Nature communication (2020). DOI: 10.1038 / s41467-020-18340-9

Provided by Trinity College Dublin

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