All-optical switching of magnetization in atomically thin CrI3

Peiyao Zhang, Ting Fung Chung, Quanwei Li, Siqi Wang, Qingjun Wang, Warren L.B. Huey, Sui Yang, Joshua E. Goldberger, Jie Yao, Xiang Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Control of magnetism has attracted interest in achieving low-power and high-speed applications such as magnetic data storage and spintronic devices. Two-dimensional magnets allow for control of magnetic properties using the electric field, electrostatic doping and strain. In two-dimensional atomically thin magnets, a non-volatile all-optical method would offer the distinct advantage of switching magnetic states without application of an external field. Here, we demonstrate such all-optical magnetization switching in the atomically thin ferromagnetic semiconductor, CrI3, triggered by circularly polarized light pulses. The magnetization switching behaviour strongly depends on the exciting photon energy and polarization, in correspondence with excitonic transitions in CrI3, indicating that the switching process is related to spin angular momentum transfer from photoexcited carriers to local magnetic moments. Such an all-optical magnetization switching should allow for further exploration of magneto-optical interactions and open up applications in high-speed and low-power spintronic devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1373-1378
Number of pages6
JournalNature materials
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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