New simulation tool opens path to superfast electronic switches

Electronic devices operate at speeds limited by the physical processes underlying their operation: the faster the process, the quicker the information processing speed. One such fast process that might lead to the development of superfast magnetic switches is the demagnetisation of layered magnetic materials (multilayered ferromagnets) when hit by ultrafast X-ray laser pulses. This process has been poorly understood to date, but now a joint research project by European XFEL and the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IFJ PAN) has developed a new simulation tool, taking an important step towards superfast electronics.

“In recent years, physicists have become quite familiar with demagnetisation processes initiated by visible or near-infrared light. However, when it comes to the impact of more energetic X-ray radiation, we are all just taking the first steps,” says Beata Ziaja-Motyka, initiator of the research project. “Our team’s contribution lies in the construction of a theoretical model called XSPIN. With its help, it is possible for the first time to simulate demagnetisation in multilayered ferromagnetic materials exposed to femtosecond pulses of light from an X-ray laser.”

Read more on the European XFEL website

Image: A pulse of X-ray radiation hits a sample of material with magnetic properties, scatters and forms a diffraction ring. The diameter of the ring depends on the average distance between the magnetic domains, and its intensity is the greater, the stronger the magnetization of the sample.

Credit: FJ PAN