We recently reported on a method to determine the easy axis position in a 10 nm thick film of the fully compensated antiferromagnet CuMnAs. The film had a uniaxial magnetic anisotropy and the technique utilized a magneto-optical pump and probe experiment [Saidl et al. Nat. Photonics 11, 91 (2017)]. In this contribution, we discuss the applicability of this method for the investigation of a broader set of epitaxial CuMnAs films having different thicknesses. This work reveals that the equilibrium magnetic anisotropy can be studied only in samples, where this anisotropy is rather strong. However, in the majority of CuMnAs films, the impact of a strong pump pulse induces nano-fragmentation of the magnetic domains and, therefore, the magnetic anisotropy measured by the pump–probe technique differs substantially from that in the equilibrium conditions. We also demonstrate that the optical pump–probe experiment can be used very efficiently to study the local heating and heat dissipation in CuMnAs epitaxial layers. In particular, we determined the electron–phonon relaxation time in CuMnAs. We also observed that, for a local film heating by a focused laser, the thinner films are heated more, but the heat is dissipated considerably faster than in the case of thicker films. This illustrates that the optical pump–probe experiment is a valuable characterization tool for the heat management optimization in the CuMnAs memory devices and can be applied in a similar way to those used during the heat-assisted magnetic recording technology development for the latest generation of hard drive disks.

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