Femtosecond (fs) soft x-ray diffraction at the Eu-M5 resonance was employed to study the dynamics of antiferromagnetic (AFM) order in a thin film of the magnetic semiconductor EuTe after fs laser excitation. The AFM Bragg peak intensity displays an ultrafast decay with an upper limit for the time constant of (700±200)fs followed by fast recovery with (47±10)ps. Reciprocal space scans across the diffraction peak could be recorded with picosecond and fs time resolution, demonstrating that even at synchrotron slicing sources ultrafast studies of spatial magnetic correlations are feasible. The results show that fs dynamics of materials with complex order parameters can be addressed.

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