Large-Amplitude Spin Dynamics Driven by a THz Pulse in Resonance with an Electromagnon

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Science  06 Mar 2014:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1242862

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Multiferroics have attracted strong interest for potential applications where electric fields control magnetic order. The ultimate speed of control via magnetoelectric coupling, however, remains largely unexplored. Here, we report on an experiment in which we drive spin dynamics in multiferroic TbMnO3 with an intense few-cycle terahertz (THz) light pulse tuned to resonance with an electromagnon, an electric-dipole active spin excitation. We observe the resulting spin motion using time-resolved resonant soft x-ray diffraction. Our results show that it is possible to directly manipulate atomic-scale magnetic structures using the electric field of light on a sub-picosecond timescale.

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