Pudell, J.; Maznev, A.A.; Herzog, M.; Kronseder, M.; Back, C.H.; Malinowski, G.; von Reppert, A.; Bargheer, M.: Layer specific observation of slow thermal equilibration in ultrathin metallic nanostructures by femtosecond X-ray diffraction. Nature Communications 9 (2018), p. 3335/1-7
Open Accesn Version

Ultrafast heat transport in nanoscale metal multilayers is of great interest in the context of optically induced demagnetization, remagnetization and switching. If the penetration depth of light exceeds the bilayer thickness, layer-specific information is unavailable from optical probes. Femtosecond diffraction experiments provide unique experimental access to heat transport over single digit nanometer distances. Here, we investigate the structural response and the energy flow in the ultrathin double-layer system: gold on ferromagnetic nickel. Even though the excitation pulse is incident from the Au side, we observe a very rapid heating of the Ni lattice, whereas the Au lattice initially remains cold. The subsequent heat transfer from Ni to the Au lattice is found to be two orders of magnitude slower than predicted by the conventional heat equation and much slower than electron–phonon coupling times in Au. We present a simplified model calculation highlighting the relevant thermophysical quantities.