PerspectiveMaterials Science

Creating Transient Crystal Structures with Light

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Science  25 Apr 2003:
Vol. 300, Issue 5619, pp. 591-592
DOI: 10.1126/science.1084470

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Summary

Under appropriate circumstances, light can be used to guide structural transitions in solids. New ultrafast x-ray probes now promise direct information about the dynamics of such transitions. In his Perspective, Siders highlights the report of Collet et al. , who have used such time-resolved x-ray diffraction to demonstrate optical control of a phase transition in a molecular crystal. The work shows that light may be used in a similar way as doping, temperature, and pressure to control materials properties.