Direct Measurement of Anharmonic Decay Channels of a Coherent Phonon

Journal: Physical Review Letters

Published: 2018-09-20

DOI: 10.1103/physrevlett.121.125901

Affiliations: 11

Authors: 15

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Research Highlight

Probing vibrations in solids

© Science Photo Library/Getty

© Science Photo Library/Getty

Scientists have probed in detail how vibrations in an atomic lattice created by laser pulses release their energy. The results agree well with numerical predictions.

Lattice vibrations in solids affect a wide range of phenomena, including the solid’s thermal, acoustic and electric properties. Vibrations triggered by laser pulses decay by dissipating their energy through the atomic lattice. While theoretical calculations have indicated that each vibration excites smaller vibrations that have higher frequencies, these had not been observed experimentally, until now.

By firing bright, ultrafast X-ray pulses directly after exciting lattice vibrations in a bismuth thin film using optical laser pulses, a team that included researchers at University College Cork has experimentally shown that the vibrations pass on their energy by triggering smaller vibrations.

The results will be helpful for informing analysis of a wide range of phenomena from heat flow in solids to light-induced superconductivity.

Supported content

  1. Physical Review Letters 121, 125901 (2018). doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.121.125901
Institutions Share
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, United States of America (USA) 0.33
Stanford University, United States of America (USA) 0.15
University of Michigan (U-M), United States of America (USA) 0.13
Stanford Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), United States of America (USA) 0.10
Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL), United States of America (USA) 0.08
Imperial College London (ICL), United Kingdom (UK) 0.07
Tyndall National Institute (TNI), Ireland 0.07
University College Cork (UCC), Ireland 0.07