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Title: Nonequilibrium Phase Precursors during a Photoexcited Insulator-to-Metal Transition in V 2 O 3

Here, we photoinduce and directly observe with x-ray scattering an ultrafast enhancement of the structural long-range order in the archetypal Mott system V 2O 3. Despite the ultrafast increase in crystal symmetry, the change of unit cell volume occurs an order of magnitude slower and coincides with the insulator-to-metal transition. The decoupling between the two structural responses in the time domain highlights the existence of a transient photoinduced precursor phase, which is distinct from the two structural phases present in equilibrium. X-ray nanoscopy reveals that acoustic phonons trapped in nanoscale twin domains govern the dynamics of the ultrafast transition into the precursor phase, while nucleation and growth of metallic domains dictate the duration of the slower transition into the metallic phase. In conclusion, the enhancement of the long-range order before completion of the electronic transition demonstrates the critical role the nonequilibrium structural phases play during electronic phase transitions in correlated electrons systems.
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [3] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [4] ;  [4] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Univ. of California, San Diego, CA (United States). Dept. of Physics and Center for Advanced Nanoscience
  2. Univ. de los Andes, Bogota (Columbia). Dept. of Physics
  3. Univ. of California, San Diego, CA (United States). Dept. of Physics and Center for Advanced Nanoscience; Univ. of California, San Diego, CA (United States). Center for Memory and Recording Research
  4. SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States)
  5. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States). Center for Nanoscale Materials
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
FA9550-16-1-0026; MRPI MR-15-328-528; SC0001805; FG02-87ER45332; AC02-76SF00515; AC02-06CH11357; 120471250659; 120424054303
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physical Review Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 120; Journal Issue: 20; Journal ID: ISSN 0031-9007
Publisher:
American Physical Society (APS)
Research Org:
SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22); US Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
75 CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS, SUPERCONDUCTIVITY AND SUPERFLUIDITY
OSTI Identifier:
1458468