skip to main content


This content will become publicly available on May 14, 2019

Title: Nonequilibrium Phase Precursors during a Photoexcited Insulator-to-Metal Transition in V2O3

Here, we photoinduce and directly observe with x-ray scattering an ultrafast enhancement of the structural long-range order in the archetypal Mott system V2O3. 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. 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.
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC02-06CH11357; SC0001805; FG02-87ER45332; AC02-76SF00515
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physical Review Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 120; Journal ID: ISSN 0031-9007
American Physical Society (APS)
Research Org:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (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
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1437073