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Nanoscale Spin Dynamics Group

The Nanoscale Spin Dynamics Group develops new measurement techniques to characterize the high frequency properties and performance of nanomagnetic structures and devices.

Hard-disk drives in personal computers and data centers push the limits of technology, with current data bit densities of 100 billion per square centimeter. The controlled switching of magnetization in write heads, read heads, recording media, and innovative memory elements at frequencies in the hundreds of megahertz to hundreds of gigahertz will be the foundation for future magnetic data storage systems and advanced microwave integrated circuits. These technologies will depend on newly discovered properties and limitations of magnetic materials and devices that appear only at the nanoscale.

We will develop coherent X-ray scattering techniques that will enable room-temperature detection and characterization of magnetic topological defects (skyrmions) at length scales as small as 5 nm. The new method will rely on optical generation of skyrmions via the Kibble-Zurek mechanism, whereby rapid cooling of a magnet through the Curie temperature after optical pumping will necessarily generate topological defects. Detection of skyrmions will rest on the distinct diffractive fingerprint of the scattered photons. Analysis of the diffraction pattern will be used to determine the skyrmion size and density. We will use both coherent X-ray and extreme ultraviolet laser facilities for these measurements, including those of our long-time collaborators at University of ColoradoCU/JILA. Results of these measurements will be crucial for the evaluation of materials as candidates for spintronics applications, including racetrack memory and logic-in-memory.

News and Updates

NIST System Replicated by Chip Maker

A highly sensitive measurement system for the performance of nanoscale magnetic devices, invented and developed at NIST, was successfully replicated recently by

Projects and Programs

Spin Dynamics and Magnetic Microscopy

The Spin Dynamics and Magnetic Microscopy Project develops metrology for magnetodynamic effects such as ferromagnetic resonance, switching, and damping. We

Spin Transport

The Spin Transport program performs basic and applied research, and develops new measurement capabilities, to enable the development of high-speed, nonvolatile


Nonlinear losses in magnon transport due to four-magnon scattering

T. Hula, K. Schultheiss, A. Budzakov, L. Korber, M. Bejarano, L. Flacke, L. Liensberger, M. Weiler, Justin M. Shaw, Hans T. Nembach, J. Fassbender, H. Schultheiss
We report on the impact of nonlinear four-magnon scattering on magnon transport in microstructured Co25Fe75 waveguides with low magnetic damping. We determine

Ultrafast domain dilation induced by optical pumping in ferromagnetic CoFe/Ni multilayers

Dmitriy Zusin, Ezio E. Iacocca, Loic Le Guyader, Alexander H. Reid, William Schlotter, TianMin Liu, Daniel Higley, Giacomo Coslovich, Scott F. Wandel, Phoebe Tengdin, Sheena K. Patel, Anatoly Shabalin, Nelson Hua, Stjepan Hrkac, Hans T. Nembach, Justin M. Shaw, Sergio Montoya, Adam Blonsky, Christian Gentry, Mark Hoefer, Margaret M. Murnane, Henry C. Kapteyn, Eric E. Fullerton, Oleg Shpyrko, Hermann Durr, Thomas J. Silva
Ultrafast optical pumping of systems with spatially nonuniform magnetic textures is known to cause far-from-equilibrium spin transport effects, such as the


2016 IEEE Fellow - Thomas Silva

The IEEE Grade of Fellow is conferred by the IEEE Board of Directors upon a person with an outstanding record of accomplishments in any of...

2010 APS Fellow - Thomas Silva

The criterion for election is exceptional contributions to the physics enterprise; e.g., outstanding physics research, important...


Group Leader

Project Leaders

Group Office Manager