Single-Shot Laser-Induced Switching of an Exchange Biased Antiferromagnet

Zongxia Guo, Junlin Wang, Gregory Malinowski, Boyu Zhang*, Wei Zhang, Hangtian Wang, Chen Lyu, Yi Peng, Pierre Vallobra, Yong Xu, Yongbing Xu, Sarah Jenkins, Roy W. Chantrell, Richard F.L. Evans, Stéphane Mangin, Weisheng Zhao*, Michel Hehn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ultrafast manipulation of magnetic order has challenged the understanding of the fundamental and dynamic properties of magnetic materials. So far single-shot magnetic switching has been limited to ferrimagnetic alloys, multilayers, and designed ferromagnetic (FM) heterostructures. In FM/antiferromagnetic (AFM) bilayers, exchange bias (He) arises from the interfacial exchange coupling between the two layers and reflects the microscopic orientation of the antiferromagnet. Here the possibility of single-shot switching of the antiferromagnet (change of the sign and amplitude of He) with a single femtosecond laser pulse in IrMn/CoGd bilayers is demonstrated. The manipulation is demonstrated in a wide range of fluences for different layer thicknesses and compositions. Atomistic simulations predict ultrafast switching and recovery of the AFM magnetization on a timescale of 2 ps. The results provide the fastest and the most energy-efficient method to set the exchange bias and pave the way to potential applications for ultrafast spintronic devices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2311643
Number of pages7
JournalAdvanced Materials
Early online date26 Feb 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge the National Key Research and Development Program of China (grant no. 2022YFB4400200), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant nos. 12104031, 12104030, 61627813, 12241403, 12304136), the Program of Introducing Talents of Discipline to Universities (grant no. B16001), the Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Project (grant no. Z201100004220002), the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (grant no. 2022M710320) and the China Scholarship Council, the Guangdong Basic and Applied Basic Research Foundation (grant nos. 2022A1515110863, 2023A1515010837). This work was supported by the ANR‐15‐CE24‐0009 UMAMI and the ANR‐20‐CE09‐0013, by the Institute Carnot ICEEL for the project “Optic‐switch” and Matelas, by the Région Grand Est, by the Metropole Grand Nancy, by the impact project LUE‐N4S, part of the French PIA project “Lorraine Université d'Excellence,” reference ANR‐15‐IDEX‐04‐LUE, and by the “FEDERFSE Lorraine et Massif Vosges 2014–2020,” a European Union Program. The atomistic simulations were performed on the Viking Cluster, a high‐performance compute facility provided by the University of York and ARCHER2, the UK National Supercomputing Service ( ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Wiley-VCH GmbH.


  • antiferromagnet
  • exchange bias
  • single-shot all-optical switching
  • spintronics

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