ABSTRACT: Hot carrier dynamics critically impacts the performance of electronic, optoelectronic, photovoltaic, and plasmonic devices. Hot carriers lose energy over nanometer lengths and picosecond timescales and thus are challenging to study experimentally, whereas calculations of hot carrier dynamics are cumbersome and dominated by empirical approaches. In this work, we present ab initio calculations of hot electrons in gallium arsenide (GaAs) using density functional theory and many-body perturbation theory. Our computed electron-phonon relaxation times at the onset of the ?, L, and X valleys are in excellent agreement with ultrafast optical experiments and show that the ultrafast (tens of femtoseconds) hot electron decay times observed experimentally arise from electron-phonon scattering. This result is an important advance to resolve a controversy on hot electron cooling in GaAs. We further find that, contrary to common notions, all optical and acoustic modes contribute substantially to electron-phonon scattering, with a dominant contribution from transverse acoustic modes. This work provides definitive microscopic insight into hot electrons in GaAs and enables accurate ab initio computation of hot carriers in advanced materials.
Project description:Hybrid organic-inorganic perovskites (HOIPs) have become an important class of semiconductors for solar cells and other optoelectronic applications. Electron-phonon coupling plays a critical role in all optoelectronic devices, and although the lattice dynamics and phonon frequencies of HOIPs have been well studied, little attention has been given to phonon lifetimes. We report high-precision momentum-resolved measurements of acoustic phonon lifetimes in the hybrid perovskite methylammonium lead iodide (MAPI), using inelastic neutron spectroscopy to provide high-energy resolution and fully deuterated single crystals to reduce incoherent scattering from hydrogen. Our measurements reveal extremely short lifetimes on the order of picoseconds, corresponding to nanometer mean free paths and demonstrating that acoustic phonons are unable to dissipate heat efficiently. Lattice-dynamics calculations using ab initio third-order perturbation theory indicate that the short lifetimes stem from strong three-phonon interactions and a high density of low-energy optical phonon modes related to the degrees of freedom of the organic cation. Such short lifetimes have significant implications for electron-phonon coupling in MAPI and other HOIPs, with direct impacts on optoelectronic devices both in the cooling of hot carriers and in the transport and recombination of band edge carriers. These findings illustrate a fundamental difference between HOIPs and conventional photovoltaic semiconductors and demonstrate the importance of understanding lattice dynamics in the effort to develop metal halide perovskite optoelectronic devices.
Project description:Investigation of the non-equilibrium dynamics after an impulsive impact provides insights into couplings among various excitations. A two-temperature model (TTM) is often a starting point to understand the coupled dynamics of electrons and lattice vibrations: the optical pulse primarily raises the electronic temperature T(el) while leaving the lattice temperature T(l) low; subsequently the hot electrons heat up the lattice until T(el) = T(l) is reached. This temporal hierarchy owes to the assumption that the electron-electron scattering rate is much larger than the electron-phonon scattering rate. We report herein that the TTM scheme is seriously invalidated in semimetal graphite. Time-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (TrPES) of graphite reveals that fingerprints of coupled optical phonons (COPs) occur from the initial moments where T(el) is still not definable. Our study shows that ultrafast-and-efficient phonon generations occur beyond the TTM scheme, presumably associated to the long duration of the non-thermal electrons in graphite.
Project description:Low thermal conductivity is favorable for preserving the temperature gradient between the two ends of a thermoelectric material, in order to ensure continuous electron current generation. In high-performance thermoelectric materials, there are two main low thermal conductivity mechanisms: the phonon anharmonic in PbTe and SnSe, and phonon scattering resulting from the dynamic disorder in AgCrSe2 and CuCrSe2, which have been successfully revealed by inelastic neutron scattering. Using neutron scattering and ab initio calculations, we report here a mechanism of static local structure distortion combined with phonon-anharmonic-induced ultralow lattice thermal conductivity in ?-MgAgSb. Since the transverse acoustic phonons are almost fully scattered by the compound's intrinsic distorted rocksalt sublattice, the heat is mainly transported by the longitudinal acoustic phonons. The ultralow thermal conductivity in ?-MgAgSb is attributed to its atomic dynamics being altered by the structure distortion, which presents a possible microscopic route to enhance the performance of similar thermoelectric materials.
Project description:Time dynamics of photoexcited electron-hole pairs is important for a number of technologies, in particular solar cells. We combined ultrafast pump-probe Raman scattering and photoemission to directly follow electron-hole excitations as well as the G-phonon in graphite after an excitation by an intense laser pulse. This phonon is known to couple relatively strongly to electrons. Cross-correlating effective electronic and phonon temperatures places new constraints on model-based fits. The accepted two-temperature model predicts that G-phonon population should start to increase as soon as excited electron-hole pairs are created and that the rate of increase should not depend strongly on the pump fluence. Instead we found that the increase of the G-phonon population occurs with a delay of ~65?fs. This time-delay is also evidenced by the absence of the so-called self-pumping for G phonons. It decreases with increased pump fluence. We show that these observations imply a new relaxation pathway: Instead of hot carriers transferring energy to G-phonons directly, the energy is first transferred to optical phonons near the zone boundary K-points, which then decay into G-phonons via phonon-phonon scattering. Our work demonstrates that phonon-phonon interactions must be included in any calculations of hot carrier relaxation in optical absorbers even when only short timescales are considered.
Project description:Electron-phonon coupling is a major decoherence mechanism, which often causes scattering and energy dissipation in semiconductor electronic systems. However, this electron-phonon coupling may be used in a positive way for reaching the strong or ultra-strong coupling regime in an acoustic version of the cavity quantum electrodynamic system. Here we propose and demonstrate a phonon cavity for surface acoustic waves, which is made of periodic metal fingers that constitute Bragg reflectors on a GaAs/AlGaAs heterostructure. Phonon band gap and cavity phonon modes are identified by frequency, time and spatially resolved measurements of the piezoelectric potential. Tunneling spectroscopy on a double quantum dot indicates the enhancement of phonon assisted transitions in a charge qubit. This encourages studying of acoustic cavity quantum electrodynamics with surface phonons.
Project description:Hot electrons can dramatically improve the efficiency of solar cells and sensitize energetically-demanding photochemical reactions. Efficient hot electron devices have been hindered by sub-picosecond intraband cooling of hot electrons in typical semiconductors via electron-phonon scattering. Semiconductor quantum dots were predicted to exhibit a "phonon bottleneck" for hot electron relaxation as their quantum-confined electrons would couple very inefficiently to phonons. However, typical cadmium selenide dots still exhibit sub-picosecond hot electron cooling, bypassing the phonon bottleneck possibly via an Auger-like process whereby the excessive energy of the hot electron is transferred to the hole. Here we demonstrate this cooling mechanism can be suppressed in copper-doped cadmium selenide colloidal quantum dots due to femtosecond hole capturing by copper-dopants. As a result, we observe a lifetime of ~8.6 picosecond for 1P<sub>e</sub> hot electrons which is more than 30-fold longer than that in same-sized, undoped dots (~0.25 picosecond).
Project description:Electron-phonon scattering is the key process limiting the efficiency of modern nanoelectronic and optoelectronic devices, in which most of the incident energy is converted to lattice heat and finally dissipates into the environment. Here, we report an acoustic phonon recycling process in graphene-WS<sub>2</sub> heterostructures, which couples the heat generated in graphene back into the carrier distribution in WS<sub>2</sub>. This recycling process is experimentally recorded by spectrally resolved transient absorption microscopy under a wide range of pumping energies from 1.77 to 0.48?eV and is also theoretically described using an interfacial thermal transport model. The acoustic phonon recycling process has a relatively slow characteristic time (>100?ps), which is beneficial for carrier extraction and distinct from the commonly found ultrafast hot carrier transfer (~1?ps) in graphene-WS<sub>2</sub> heterostructures. The combination of phonon recycling and carrier transfer makes graphene-based heterostructures highly attractive for broadband high-efficiency electronic and optoelectronic applications.
Project description:It is shown that the electron-phonon interaction at a conducting interface between a topological insulator thin film and a semiconductor substrate can be directly probed by means of high-resolution Brillouin light scattering (BLS). The observation of Kohn anomalies in the surface phonon dispersion curves of a 50?nm thick Bi2Te3 film on GaAs, besides demonstrating important electron-phonon coupling effects in the GHz frequency domain, shows that information on deep interface electrons can be obtained by tuning the penetration depth of optically-generated surface phonons so as to selectively probe the interface region, as in a sort of quantum sonar.
Project description:The creation of energetic electrons through plasmon excitation of nanostructures before thermalization has been proposed for a wide number of applications in optical energy conversion and ultrafast nanophotonics. However, the use of "nonthermal" electrons is primarily limited by both a low generation efficiency and their ultrafast decay. We report experimental and theoretical results on the use of broadband plasmonic nanopatch metasurfaces comprising a gold substrate coupled to silver nanocubes that produce large concentrations of hot electrons, which we measure using transient absorption spectroscopy. We find evidence for three subpopulations of nonthermal carriers, which we propose arise from anisotropic electron-electron scattering within sp-bands near the Fermi surface. The bimetallic character of the metasurface strongly impacts the physics, with dissipation occurring primarily in the gold, whereas the quantum process of hot electron generation takes place in both components. Our calculations show that the choice of geometry and materials is crucial for producing strong ultrafast nonthermal electron components.The creation of energetic electrons through plasmon excitation has implications in optical energy conversion and ultrafast nanophotonics. Here, the authors find evidence for three subpopulations of nonthermal carriers which arise from anisotropic electron-electron scattering near the Fermi surface.
Project description:The interplay between the electronic and lattice degrees of freedom in nonequilibrium states of strongly correlated systems has been debated for decades. Although progress has been made in establishing a hierarchy of electronic interactions with the use of time-resolved techniques, the role of the phonons often remains in dispute, a situation highlighting the need for tools that directly probe the lattice. We present the first combined megaelectron volt ultrafast electron diffraction and time- and angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy study of optimally doped Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8+?. Quantitative analysis of the lattice and electron subsystems' dynamics provides a unified picture of nonequilibrium electron-phonon interactions in the cuprates beyond the N-temperature model. The work provides new insights on the specific phonon branches involved in the nonequilibrium heat dissipation from the high-energy Cu-O bond stretching "hot" phonons to the lowest-energy acoustic phonons with correlated atomic motion along the <110> crystal directions and their characteristic time scales. It reveals a highly nonthermal phonon population during the first several picoseconds after the photoexcitation. The approach, taking advantage of the distinct nature of electrons and photons as probes, is applicable for studying energy relaxation in other strongly correlated electron systems.