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Terahertz modulation of the Faraday rotation by laser pulses via the optical Kerr effect

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>4/01/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Nature Photonics
Volume10
Number of pages4
Pages (from-to)111–114
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The magneto-optical Faraday effect played a crucial role in the elucidation of the electromagnetic nature of light. Today it is powerful means to probe magnetism and the basic operational principle of magneto-optical modulators. Understanding the mechanisms allowing for modulation of the magneto-optical response at terahertz frequencies may have far-reaching consequences for photonics, ultrafast optomagnetism and magnonics, as well as for future development of ultrafast Faraday modulators. Here we suggest a conceptually new approach for an ultrafast tunable magneto-optical modulation with the help of counter-propagating laser pulses. Using terbium gallium garnet (Tb3Ga5O12) we demonstrate the feasibility of such magneto-optical modulation with a frequency up to 1.1 THz, which is continuously tunable by means of an external magnetic field. Besides the novel concept for ultrafast magneto-optical polarization modulation, our findings reveal the importance of accounting for propagation effects in the interpretation of pump–probe magneto-optical experiments.