Rapid energy deposition in chalcogenide thin films is utilized to induce reversible amorphous to crystalline phase transformations. The kinetics of the transformation in these alloys is investigated utilizing time-resolved techniques combined with electron spectroscopies (TEM, AES, XPS). Thus, the requirements for glass formation and the physical parameters controlling the rate of crystallization are directly measured. Laser quenching is also utilized to alter the magnetic state of amorphous magnetic materials. Depending on the rate of energy removal, the effect of the rapid heating leads either to a simple magnetic reversal or can irreversibly alter the magnetic properties of the absorbing layer as a consequence of atomic structural changes. Dynamic studies of the effect of rapid annealing in these materials will be presented. © 1989.