Ultrafast electron dynamics in Mott materials

Abstract : Mott insulators are a perfect example of how local electronic correlations can change macroscopic properties of materials. Varying slightly the doping or the pressure can transform a metal to an insulator. These properties can be modified extremely rapidly by driving these materials far from equilibrium. We have investigated the model Mott-Hubbard material Cr-doped V2O3 using state of the art pump-probe techniques, namely angle resolved photoelectron spectroscopy, optical reflectivity, THz time-domain spectroscopy, and X-ray diffraction. We were able to unequivocally disentangle the electronic and the lattice response of the system to a femtosecond laser excitation, which was kept in all cases at a wavelength of 800 nm. We present a comparative study of these transient responses, which demonstrates the strong electron-phonon coupling of this strongly correlated model material. We show that before thermalization, spectral weight is transferred from the lower Hubbard band towards the Mott gap. On a longer time scale a metastable state is stabilized by the lattice structure. To further understand the transient response of Mott insulators, we have also studied another Mott compound, BaCo1-xNixS2. The general trends of photoexcitation in Mott insulators are analyzed using a two orbital model. We argue that the filling of the gap can be due to a change of the specific orbital fillings.
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Gabriel Lantz. Ultrafast electron dynamics in Mott materials. Strongly Correlated Electrons [cond-mat.str-el]. Université Paris Sud - Paris XI, 2015. English. ⟨NNT : 2015PA112014⟩. ⟨tel-01148820⟩

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