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Journal Article

Attosecond screening dynamics mediated by electron localization in transition metals

MPS-Authors
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Sato,  S.
Theory Group, Theory Department, Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter, Max Planck Society;
Center for Free-Electron Laser Science;

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Rubio,  A.
Theory Group, Theory Department, Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter, Max Planck Society;
Center for Free-Electron Laser Science;
Center for Computational Quantum Physics (CCQ), The Flatiron Institute;

Fulltext (public)

1811.00801.pdf
(Preprint), 3MB

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Citation

Volkov, M., Sato, S., Schlaepfer, F., Kasmi, L., Hartmann, N., Lucchini, M., et al. (2019). Attosecond screening dynamics mediated by electron localization in transition metals. Nature Physics. doi:10.1038/s41567-019-0602-9.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-743C-9
Abstract
Transition metals, with their densely confined and strongly coupled valence electrons, are key constituents of many materials with unconventional properties1, such as high-temperature superconductors, Mott insulators and transition metal dichalcogenides2. Strong interaction offers a fast and efficient lever to manipulate electron properties with light, creating promising potential for next-generation electronics3,4,5,6. However, the underlying dynamics is a hard-to-understand, fast and intricate interplay of polarization and screening effects, which are hidden below the femtosecond timescale of electronic thermalization that follows photoexcitation7. Here, we investigate the many-body electron dynamics in transition metals before thermalization sets in. We combine the sensitivity of intra-shell transitions to screening effects8 with attosecond time resolution to uncover the interplay of photo-absorption and screening. First-principles time-dependent calculations allow us to assign our experimental observations to ultrafast electronic localization on d orbitals. The latter modifies the electronic structure as well as the collective dynamic response of the system on a timescale much faster than the light-field cycle. Our results demonstrate a possibility for steering the electronic properties of solids before electron thermalization. We anticipate that our study may facilitate further investigations of electronic phase transitions, laser–metal interactions and photo-absorption in correlated-electron systems on their natural timescales.