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  1. Short electron pulses are demonstrated to trigger and control magnetic excitations, even at low electron current densities. We show that the tangential magnetic field surrounding a picosecond electron pulse can imprint topologically protected magnetic textures such as skyrmions in a sample with a residual Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya spin-orbital coupling. Characteristics of the created excitations such as the topological charge can be steered via the duration and the strength of the electron pulses. Here, the study points to a possible way for a spatiotemporally controlled generation of skyrmionic excitations.
  2. We use ultrafast electron diffraction to detect the temporal evolution of non-equilibrium phonons in femtosecond laser-excited ultrathin single-crystalline gold films. From the time-dependence of the Debye-Waller factor, we extract a 4.7 ps time-constant for the increase in mean-square atomic displacements. The observed increase in the diffuse scattering intensity demonstrates that the energy transfer from laser-heated electrons to phonon modes near the X and K points in the Au fcc Brillouin zone proceeds with timescales of 2.3 and 2.9 ps, respectively, faster than the Debye-Waller average mean-square displacement.
  3. In this study, we present a scanning transmission x-ray microscopy setup combined with a novel microwave synchronization scheme in order to study high frequency magnetization dynamics at synchrotron light sources. The sensitivity necessary to detect small changes of the magnetization on short time scales and nanometer spatial dimensions is achieved by combination of the developed excitation mechanism with a single photon counting electronics that is locked to the synchrotron operation frequency. The required mechanical stability is achieved by a compact design of the microscope. Our instrument is capable of creating direct images of dynamical phenomena in the 5-10 GHz range,more » with 35 nm resolution. When used together with circularly polarized x-rays, the above capabilities can be combined to study magnetic phenomena at microwave frequencies, such as ferromagnetic resonance (FMR) and spin waves. We demonstrate the capabilities of our technique by presenting phase resolved images of a –6 GHz nanoscale spin wave generated by a spin torque oscillator, as well as the uniform ferromagnetic precession with ~0.1° amplitude at –9 GHz in a micrometer-sized cobalt strip.« less
  4. Ultrafast electron probes are powerful tools, complementary to x-ray free-electron lasers, used to study structural dynamics in material, chemical, and biological sciences. High brightness, relativistic electron beams with femtosecond pulse duration can resolve details of the dynamic processes on atomic time and length scales. SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory recently launched the Ultrafast Electron Diffraction (UED) and microscopy Initiative aiming at developing the next generation ultrafast electron scattering instruments. As the first stage of the Initiative, a mega-electron-volt (MeV) UED system has been constructed and commissioned to serve ultrafast science experiments and instrumentation development. The system operates at 120-Hz repetition ratemore » with outstanding performance. In this paper, we report on the SLAC MeV UED system and its performance, including the reciprocal space resolution, temporal resolution, and machine stability.« less
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