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Laser-Induced Ferroelectric Structural Order in an Organic Charge-Transfer Crystal

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Science  25 Apr 2003:
Vol. 300, Issue 5619, pp. 612-615
DOI: 10.1126/science.1082001

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Abstract

We report the direct observation by x-ray diffraction of a photoinduced paraelectric-to-ferroelectric structural phase transition using monochromatic 100-picosecond synchrotron pulses. It occurs in tetrathiafulvalene-p-chloranil, a charge-transfer molecular material in which electronic and structural changes are strongly coupled. An optical 300-femtosecond laser pulse switches the material from a neutral to an ionic state on a 500-picosecond time scale and, by virtue of intrinsic cooperativity, generates self-organized long-range structural order. The x-ray data indicate a macroscopic ferroelectric reorganization after the laser irradiation. Refinement of the structures before and after laser irradiation indicates structural changes at the molecular level.

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