Non-equilibrium phonon dynamics studied by grazing-incidence femtosecond X-ray crystallography


The timescales for structural changes in a single crystal of bismuth after excitation with an intense near-infrared laser pulse are studied with femtosecond pump-probe X-ray diffraction. Changes in the intensity and reciprocal-lattice vector of several reflections give quantitative information on the structure factor and lattice strain as a function of time, with a resolution of 200 fs. The results indicate that the majority of excess carrier energy that remains near the surface is transferred to vibrational modes on a timescale of about 10 ps, and that the resultant increase in the variance of the atomic positions at these times is consistent with the overall magnitude of lattice strain that develops.

Acta Crystallographica Section A: Foundations of Crystallography