Ultrafast phenomena on a femtosecond timescale are commonly examined by pump-probe experiments. This implies multiple measurements, where the sample under investigation is pumped with a short light pulse and then probed with a second pulse at various time delays to follow its dynamics. Recently, the principle of streaking extreme ultraviolet (XUV) pulses in the temporal domain has enabled recording the dynamics of a system within a single pulse. However, separate pump-probe experiments at different absorption edges still lack a unified timing, when comparing the dynamics in complex systems. Here, we report on an experiment using a dedicated optical element and the two-color emission of the FERMI XUV free-electron laser to follow the charge and spin dynamics in composite materials at two distinct absorption edges, simultaneously. The sample, consisting of ferromagnetic Fe and Ni layers, separated by a Cu layer, is pumped by an infrared laser and probed by a two-color XUV pulse with photon energies tuned to the M-shell resonances of these two transition metals. The experimental geometry intrinsically avoids any timing uncertainty between the two elements and unambiguously reveals an approximately 100 fs delay of the magnetic response with respect to the electronic excitation for both Fe and Ni. This delay shows that the electronic and spin degrees of freedom are decoupled during the demagnetization process. We furthermore observe that the electronic dynamics of Ni and Fe show pronounced differences when probed at their resonance, while the demagnetization dynamics are similar. These observations underline the importance of simultaneous investigation of the temporal response of both charge and spin in multi-component materials. In a more general scenario, the experimental approach can be extended to continuous energy ranges, promising the development of jitter-free transient absorption spectroscopy in the XUV and soft X-ray regimes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics