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Click on the thumbnails to download a larger version. Captions and credits for the images can be found below.


Image one: experiments

Experimental images showing the repeated deterministic switching of nano islands. Initially the two nano islands have different magnetic orientation (black and white respectively). After the application of a single pulse, the magnetic direction of both islands changes. Further pulses repeat the process, switching the magnetic state back and forth.

Credit: Johan Mentink and Alexey Kimel, Radboud University Nijmegen; Richard Evans, University of York

Image two: reversal

Visualisation of ultrafast heat-induced magnetic switching. Before the laser pulse, the two components of the ferrimagnetic material Fe (Blue) and Gd (Red) are aligned anti-parallel to each other. The 60 femtosecond duration laser pulse rapidly heats the material and this alone induces a transient ferromagnetic-like state, where the Fe and Gd moments are aligned in parallel. After the laser pulse the moments relax to their usual state completing a single switching event in less than 5 picoseconds.

Credit: Richard Evans, University of York

Image three: media

The ultimate magnetic storage medium, consisting of many individual nanometre sized magnetic grains with a density of 10 petabytes/m^2. The data is written to the device using an ultrafast heating process to drive the reversal at a data rate of 200Gb/s. Compared to today's hard drive technology this would allow 10 times the amount of storage capacity and 300 times the performance.

Credit: Richard Evans, University of York