This booklet collects the results of my work as a doctoral student of the Ph.D. School in Physics, Astrophysics and Applied Physics at Universit`a degli Studi di Milano, that has been carried out since November 2020 at Istituto Officina dei Materiali of Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (IOM-CNR) and within the framework of Nanoscale Foundries and Fine Analysis (NFFA) consortium.
My experimental activity addressed the coupling of magnetic and acoustic degrees of freedom in transition-metal ferromagnetic systems. Within the NFFA-SPRINT laboratory, hosted in the premises of the facility FERMI@Elettra (Elettra-Sincrotrone Trieste), I developed a setup to perform optical Transient-Grating spectroscopy, and correlative time-resolved optical spectroscopies (time-resolved reflectivity and polarimetry). Via sub-picosecond optical pulses, acoustic and magnetic transients are impulsively generated: their intertwined evolution and decay are monitored via time-resolved optical probing.
In a first experiment, a Ni thin film was investigated via Transient-Grating spectroscopy. Acoustically-driven magnetization precession was observed at the condition of crossing of phononic and magnonic dispersions, at finite wavevector. With the aid of correlative ferromagnetic resonance measurements the boundary of applicability of the proposed experimental approach was established.
In a second experiment, time-resolved magneto-optical polarimetry was employed to investigate magneto-acoustic waves excited in a ferromagnetic nanostructured array. The details of the magnon-phonon mode crossing allowed to identify experimental features which qualify the degree of coherence in the coupling; a Hamiltonian model was proposed to account for the observations.
The present thesis work has been performed within a new-born laboratory called Spin Polar-ization Research Instrument in the Nanoscale and Time domain (SPRINT laboratory), as apart of the research infrastructures circuit NFFA-Trieste (Nano Foundries and Fine Analysis -belonging to the wider NFFA-Europe circuit) and hosted in the experimental hall of the freeelectron laser FERMI@Elettra.The SPRINT laboratory rises as an answer to the urgent request of the scientific communityof extension of photoemission spectroscopies (PES), not only energy-, but possibly also angle-and spin-resolved, to the time domain in the sub-picosecond regime. The integration of a PESapparatus within a setup for stroboscopic measurements (that is in a pump-probe scheme) pavesthe way to time resolved study of the relaxation of optically populated electronic states, thusenabling the study the ultrafast dynamics of the excitations inside the materials, with greatbenefit from both the fundamental and the technological point of view.
This thesis completes my work as doctoral student of the Scuola di Dottorato in Fisica, Astrofisica e Fisica Applicata at the Università degli Studi di Milano that has been carried out, starting in November 4236, mostly at the Laboratorio TASC of IOM-CNR3 in the premises of the Elettra - Sincrotrone Trieste and FERMI@Elettra infrastructures4, in the framework of the NFFA and APE-beamline facilites5, as well as by accessing international large scale infrastructures and laboratories. The activity has addressed the development of experimental methodologies and novel instrumentation oriented to the study of the dynamical properties of highly correlated materials after high energy excitation. The science programme has been carried out by exploiting ultrafast femtosecond probes from the optical regime (Ti-Sa lasers, fibre laser oscillators) to the extreme UV-soft X rays at FERMI, to the picosecond hard X-rays from the SPring-: and Diamond synchrotron radiation source. The sample synthesis of correlated oxides and its characterization has been performed within the NFFA facility and APE-group collaboration in Trieste as well as the design and construction of the all new laser High Harmonic Generation beam line NFFA-SPRINT and its end station for time resolved vectorial electron spin polarimetry.
This thesis reports on the construction and commissioning tests of the novel experimental set-up needed for a long term research project, named ULTRASPIN, aiming at establishing time resolved spin-resolved photoemission measurements with ultra-short (10−14 s) photon pulses from Free Electron Laser beamlines or from table-top UV/Soft-X beamlines.
The ULTRASPIN project started in the summer 2013, building on competences and instrumentation in part available from the APE-beamline group of IOM-CNR at Elettra, and with the partial support of an European contract (EXSTASY-EXperimental STation for the Analysis of the Spin Dynamics, Grant agreement N.PIIF-GA-2012-326641) and related fellowship of a world-expert of Mott scattering.
I have been involved from the beginning in the final design, in the construction and commissioning of a novel stray-field free UHV apparatus for preparing and hosting atomically clean surfaces and for measuring the spin-polarization of the photo-emitted electrons with “single pulse” sensitivity down to the 10−14 s time scale, as well as in the standard high frequency spectroscopy mode. In the commissioning phase I have participated to test experiments on ULTRASPIN as well as to relevant experiments conducted in other apparatuses.