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Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Optical Control of Magnetic Effects at the Nanoscale

Technische Universitaet Dortmund
May 11, 2011

Magneto-optical effects, which exploit the interaction between light and magnetic materials, have only been relevant for fundamental research and up to now rarely used for applications. Plasmons – electronic excitations in metals with dimensions at the nanoscale – recently opened a new way to concentrate light at nanoscale. This allows plasmonic circuits to be built with electrical as well as optical control at this dimension scale. It would be ideal to apply such optical control for processing data on hard drives. This way writing and scanning frequencies of up to one billion operations per second, impossible so far, can be achieved. For this purpose it should be possible to optically switch the magnetic storage elements of a nanometer size on such hard drives. Optical excitation of plasmons could also be used here. Physicists at TU Dortmund around Dr. Ilya Akimov and colleagues from Russia and India now succeeded in developing a procedure to merge magneto-optics and plasmonics.
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