Kerr rotation in Cu, Ag, and Au driven by spin accumulation and spin-orbit coupling

Gyung Min Choi, David G. Cahill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We measure transient spin accumulation in Cu, Ag, and Au by time-resolved magneto-optical Kerr effect. The transient spin current is generated by ultrafast demagnetization of a ferromagnetic [Co/Pt] layer, and spin accumulates in an adjacent normal metal, Cu, Ag, or Au by spin diffusion. The magnitude of the Kerr rotation is described by an off-diagonal conductivity tensor that is proportional to spin accumulation and spin-orbit coupling. From comparisons between observed Kerr rotations and calculated spin accumulations, we determine the strength of spin-orbit coupling of conduction electrons in Cu, Ag, and Au to be 0.02, 0.01, and 0.12eV, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number214432
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number21
StatePublished - Dec 19 2014


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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