Terahertz spin currents resolved with nanometer spatial resolution

Jiahua Cai, Mingcong Dai, Sai Chen, Peng Chen, Jiaqi Wang, Hongting Xiong, Zejun Ren, Shaojie Liu, Zhongkai Liu, Caihua Wan, Ming Bai and Xiaojun Wu

Applied Physics Reviews 10, 041414 (2023)
The development of coherent terahertz (THz) spin currents with femtosecond temporal resolution has been extensively studied due to its significant implications for advancing high-speed information processing devices. However, the precise spatial resolution of THz spin currents, which is crucial for increasing storage density, is still unknown. In this study, we employ spintronic THz emission nanoscopy (STEN) to achieve efficient injection and accurate detection of femtosecond THz spin currents with nanoscale lateral spatial resolution (∼60 nm). The occurrence of emission signals at the fifth harmonic order indicates a substantial signal-to-noise ratio. Additionally, STEN proves to be an effective method for characterizing and etching nanoscale spintronic heterostructures. The integration of nanophotonics, nanospintronics, and THz-nanotechnology into a unified platform is poised to enable the characterization of spin states at micro-to-nanoscale densities, accelerate the development of high-frequency spintronic optoelectronic nanodevices, and catalyze other revolutionary technical applications.