Ultrafast control of magnets using femtosecond light pulses attracts interest regarding applications and fundamental physics of magnetism. Antiferromagnets are promising materials with magnon frequencies extending into the terahertz range. Visible or near-infrared light interacts mainly with the electronic orbital angular momentum. In many magnets, however, in particular with iron-group ions, the orbital momentum is almost quenched by the crystal field. Thus, the interaction of magnons with light is hampered, because it is only mediated by weak unquenching of the orbital momentum by spin-orbit interactions. Here we report all-optical excitation of magnons with frequencies up to 9 THz in antiferromagnetic CoO with an unquenched orbital momentum. In CoO, magnon modes are coupled oscillations of spin and orbital momenta with comparable amplitudes. We demonstrate excitations of magnon modes by directly coupling light with electronic orbital angular momentum, providing possibilities to develop magneto-optical devices operating at several terahertz with high output-to-input ratio.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)