Transient Electronic Structure and Melting of a Charge Density Wave in TbTe3

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Science  19 Sep 2008:
Vol. 321, Issue 5896, pp. 1649-1652
DOI: 10.1126/science.1160778

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Obtaining insight into microscopic cooperative effects is a fascinating topic in condensed matter research because, through self-coordination and collectivity, they can lead to instabilities with macroscopic impacts like phase transitions. We used femtosecond time- and angle-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy (trARPES) to optically pump and probe TbTe3, an excellent model system with which to study these effects. We drove a transient charge density wave melting, excited collective vibrations in TbTe3, and observed them through their time-, frequency-, and momentum-dependent influence on the electronic structure. We were able to identify the role of the observed collective vibration in the transition and to document the transition in real time. The information that we demonstrate as being accessible with trARPES will greatly enhance the understanding of all materials exhibiting collective phenomena.

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