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Out-of-equilibrium electron dynamics of Dirac semimetals and strongly correlated materials

Abstract : Quantum materials is a new term in condensed matter physics that unifies all materials in which strong electronic correlation governs physical properties of the system (e.g. Mott insulators) and materials whose electronic properties are determined by the geometry of the electronic wave function (e.g. Dirac materials). These materials show emergent properties– that is, properties that only appear by intricate interactions among many degrees of freedom, such as charge, spin and orbital, giving rise to topological properties of electrons. The study of these interactions and competitions between the relevant degrees of freedom demands applying ultrafast pump-probe techniques. Particularly, femtosecond laser pulses act only on the electrons and set them to an out-of-equilibrium state inexplicable by the Fermi-Dirac distribution. The ensuing dynamics involves various processes and the rate at which the relaxation occurs is related to the coupling constants. Moreover, in time-resolved pump-probe techniques light can act as an additional external parameter to change of the phase diagram – different from thermodynamic parameters. It gives us the opportunity of stabilizing new states inaccessible by quasi-adiabatic thermal pathways or eventually manipulating the physical properties of the systems.In this thesis, we performed different experiments in order to study the equilibrium and out-of-equilibrium properties of two correlated compounds: BaCo₁₋ₓNiₓS₂ and (V₁₋ₓMₓ)₂O₃.The first part of the project was mainly devoted to the study of BaNiS₂ that is the metallic precursor of the Mott transition in BaCo₁₋ₓNiₓS₂. By applying ARPES, we studied the electronic band structure of BaNiS₂ in its entire Brillouin zone. These results combined with some theoretical calculations give evidence of a novel correlation-induced and two-dimensional Dirac cone with d-orbital character. The band crossing is protected by the specific symmetries of the crystal structure. We also investigated the electronic band structure of the Mott insulator BaCoS₂ in its magnetic and nonmagnetic phases.In the second part, we studied the out-of-equilibrium electron dynamics of BaNiS₂ and (V₁₋ₓMx)₂O₃. By means of tr-ARPES and tr-reflectivity measurements, we observed an ultrafast and non-thermal renormalization of the Dirac cone in BaNiS₂ . This phenomenon is purely provoked by the electronic excitation and is stabilized by the interplay between the electrons and phonons. Moreover, by applying various pump-probe techniques (XFEL-based tr-XRD and tr-Reflectivity) we also explored the out-of-equilibrium phases of the prototype Mott-Hubbard material (V₁₋ₓMx)₂O₃ in different parts of its phase diagram. Our results show a transient non-thermal phase developing immediately after ultrafast photoexcitation and lasting few picoseconds in both metallic and insulating phases. This transient phase is followed by a structural distortion that corresponds to a lattice hardening and is marked by a “blue shift” of the A₁g phonon mode. These results underline the importance of the orbital filling as well as the strong effect of the selective electron-lattice coupling in the strongly correlated materials.
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Niloufar Nilforoushan. Out-of-equilibrium electron dynamics of Dirac semimetals and strongly correlated materials. Strongly Correlated Electrons [cond-mat.str-el]. Université Paris Saclay (COmUE), 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018SACLS573⟩. ⟨tel-02058653⟩

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