Information storage technology is essentially based on nanostructured magnetic materials. Considerable research effort is aimed at increasing the density of stored information and this generally requires increasingly sophisticated media design to engineer the desired combination of low write field and thermal stability of recording information. An alternative approach is Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording in which a laser is used to heat the medium to a sufficiently high temperature to assure writability using currently available write head fields. Also a new, highly promising, development is that of spin electronics in which the spin of the electron rather than merely the charge forms the basis of the device operation. This holds the prospect of allowing technology to develop beyond the limits of miniaturisation of standard electronics and may yield the solution of the increasing power requirements for conventional electronic devices. However, the switching speeds are limited by precessional motion of the magnetic spins to hundreds of picoseconds. However, magnetic spins can be manipulated on the femtosecond timescale. However, the physics of the processes occurring on this timescale is poorly understood. The proposal aims to develop a multiscale approach to the theoretical understanding of femtosecond magnetisation processes and to make a critical comparison with experimental data. The overall goal of the project is to use this understanding to optimise materials for ultrafast (femtosecond) reversal and to develop computational tools for future materials and device design.
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