A new study in which IFIMAC members Akashdeep Kamra and Francisco J. Garcia Vidal have participated shows that trapping light inside magnetic materials may dramatically enhance their intrinsic properties. Strong optical responses of magnets are important for the development of magnetic lasers and magneto-optical memory devices, as well as for emerging quantum transduction applications.
In this new article published in the journal “Nature”, the team reports the properties of a layered van der Waals magnet (CrSBr) that hosts strongly bound excitons — quasiparticles with particularly strong optical interactions. Because of that, the material is capable of trapping light — all by itself. As the experiments show, the optical responses of this material to magnetic phenomena are orders of magnitude stronger than those in typical magnets. Since the light bounces back and forth inside the magnet, interactions are greatly enhanced. As a way of example, when an external magnetic field is applied the near-infrared reflection of light is altered such that the material basically changes its color. Ordinarily, light does not respond so strongly to magnetism. This is why technological applications based on magneto-optic effects often require the implementation of sensitive optical detection schemes. Technological applications of magnetic materials today are mostly related to magneto-electric phenomena. Given such strong interactions between magnetism and light, there is hope to create magnetic lasers based on this giant magneto-optical properties. and may lead to reconsider old concepts of optically controlled magnetic memories.
The study is the result of major international collaboration, led by Prof. Vinod Menon and his research group at the City College of New York. Akashdeep Kamra and Francisco J. Garcia-Vidal have provided theoretical support and physical insight. [Full article]