Femtosecond Spin Current Pulses Generated by the Nonthermal Spin-Dependent Seebeck Effect and Interacting with Ferromagnets in Spin Valves
AbstractUsing the sensitivity of optical second harmonic generation to currents, we demonstrate the generation of 250-fs long spin current pulses in Fe/Au/Fe/MgO(001) spin valves. The temporal profile of these pulses indicates ballistic transport of hot electrons across a sub-100 nm Au layer. The pulse duration is primarily determined by the thermalization time of laser-excited hot carriers in Fe. Considering the calculated spin-dependent Fe/Au interface transmittance we conclude that a nonthermal spin-dependent Seebeck effect is responsible for the generation of ultrashort spin current pulses. The demonstrated rotation of spin polarization of hot electrons upon interaction with noncollinear magnetization at Au/Fe interfaces holds high potential for future spintronic devices.