Caustic spin wave beams in soft thin films: Properties and classification

Alexis Wartelle, Franz Vilsmeier, Takuya Taniguchi, Christian H. Back

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In the context of wave propagation, caustics are usually defined as the envelope of a finite-extent wavefront; folds and cusps in a caustic result in enhanced wave amplitudes. Here, we tackle a related phenomenon, namely, the existence of well-defined beams originating solely from the geometric properties of the corresponding dispersion relation. This directional emission, termed caustic beam, is enabled by a stationary group velocity direction, and has been observed first in the case of phonons. We propose an overview of this "focusing"effect in the context of spin waves excited in soft, thin ferromagnetic films. Based on an analytical dispersion relation, we provide tools for a systematic survey of caustic spin wave beams. Our theoretical approach is validated by time-resolved microscopy experiments using the magneto-optical Kerr effect. Then, we identify two cases of particular interest both from fundamental and applicative perspectives. Indeed, both of them enable broadband excitations (in terms of wave vectors) to result in narrow-band beams of low divergence.

Original languageEnglish
Article number144431
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number14
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2023


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