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Nanoscale thermal, acoustic, and magnetic dynamics probed with soft x-ray light

TitleNanoscale thermal, acoustic, and magnetic dynamics probed with soft x-ray light
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsSiemens, ME

This thesis discusses the application of coherent, ultrafast beams of soft x-ray light from high-order harmonic generation (HHG) to study thermal, acoustic, and magnetic processes in nanostructures. This short-wavelength light is a uniquely powerful probe of surface dynamics since it has both a very short wavelength and duration.

First, this thesis reports the first observation and quantitative measurements of the transition from diffusive to ballistic thermal transport for the case of heat flow away from a heated nanostructure into a bulk substrate. This measurement provides insight into the fundamentals of thermal energy transport away from nanoscale hot spots, and demonstrates a fundamental limit to the energy dissipation capability of nanostructures. Further, we propose a straightforward correction to the Fourier law for heat diffusion, necessary for thermal management in nanoelectronics, nano-enabled energy systems, nanomanufacturing, and nanomedicine.

Second, this work discusses dynamic measurements of ultra-high frequency surface acoustic waves (SAW) and the first SAW dispersion measurement in a nanostructured system. These results are directly applicable to adhesion and thickness diagnostics of very thin films.

Finally, this thesis reports the first use of light from HHG to study magnetic orientation. Using the transverse magneto-optic Kerr effect and soft x-ray light near the M-absorption edges of Fe, Co, and Ni, magnetic asymmetries up to 8% are observed from thin Permalloy (Ni80Fe20) films. This signal is 1-2 orders of magnitude higher than that observed using optical methods, showing great promise for dynamic imaging of domain flipping at the 100 nm level.