Controlling currents using circularly polarized light and spin-orbit coupling could lead to the development of ultrafast spintronic devices driven by laser pulses and operating at the femtosecond timescale. Here we demonstrate that such a helicity dependent photocurrent can be generated in metallic heterostructures consisting of a single ferromagnetic layer and a non-magnetic one. In particular, using terahertz emission spectroscopy we show that the direction of the generated ultrafast photocurrent is controlled by the helicity of light, the magnetization of the ferromagnetic layer and the growth direction of the layers. We argue that the helicity and magnetization dependent photocurrent in metallic multilayers originates from a combination of the spin-orbit interaction and a lack of center of symmetry at the interface.
Thomas Huisman, "THz spectroscopy for THz spintronics
(Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 9931, Spintronics IX, 99311I (Presented at SPIE Nanoscience + Engineering: August 29, 2016; Published: 4 November 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2235682.5166910696001.
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