The Perspectives of Femtosecond Imaging and Spectroscopy of Complex Materials using Electrons
Abstract The coexistence of various electronic and structural phases that are close in free-energy is a hallmark in strongly correlated electron systems with emergent properties, such as metal-insulator transition, colossal magnetoresistance, and high-temperature superconductivity. The cooperative phase transitions from one functional state to another can involve entanglements between the electronically and structurally ordered states, hence deciphering the fundamental mechanisms is generally difficult and remains very active in condensed matter physics and functional materials research. We outline the recent ultrafast characterizations of 2D charge-density wave materials, including the nonequilibrium electron dynamics unveiled by ultrafast optical spectroscopy-based techniques sensitive to the electronic order parameter. We also describe the most recent findings from ultrafast electron crystallography, which provide structural aspects to correlate lattice dynamics with electronic evolutions to address the two sides of a coin in the ultrafast switching of a cooperative state. Combining these results brings forth new perspectives and a fuller picture in understanding light-matter interactions and various switching mechanisms in cooperative systems with many potential applications. We also discuss the prospects of implementing new ultrafast electron imaging as a local probe incorporated with femtosecond select-area diffraction, imaging and spectroscopy to provide a full scope of resolution to tackle the more challenging complex phase transitions on the femtosecond-nanometer scale all at once based on a recent understanding of the space-charge-driven emittance limitation on the ultimate performance of these devices. The projection shows promising parameter space for conducting ultrafast electron micordiffraction at close to single-shot level, which is supported by the latest experimental characterization of such a system.
C.-Y. Ruan, P. M. Duxbury, M. Berz,
Proc. SPIE Ultrafast Nonlinear Imaging and Spectroscopy II 9198 (2014) 91980Q
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