"Electron-Mediated Relaxation Following Ultrafast Pumping of Strongly Correlated Materials: Model Evidence of a Correlation-Tuned Crossover between Thermal and Nonthermal States"

B. Moritz: B. Moritz, A. F. Kemper, M. Sentef, T. P. Devereaux, and J. K. Freericks; Physical Review Letters, 08/12/13.

Additional Authors: B. Moritz, A. F. Kemper, M. Sentef, T. P. Devereaux, and J. K. Freericks


We examine electron-electron mediated relaxation following ultrafast electric field pump excitation of the fermionic degrees of freedom in the Falicov-Kimball model for correlated electrons. The results reveal a dichotomy in the temporal evolution of the system as one tunes through the Mott metal-to-insulator transition: in the metallic regime relaxation can be characterized by evolution toward a steady state well described by Fermi-Dirac statistics with an increased effective temperature; however, in the insulating regime this quasithermal paradigm breaks down with relaxation toward a nonthermal state with a complicated electronic distribution as a function of momentum. We characterize the behavior by studying changes in the energy, photoemission response, and electronic distribution as functions of time. This relaxation may be observable qualitatively on short enough time scales that the electrons behave like an isolated system not in contact with additional degrees of freedom which would act as a thermal bath, especially when using strong driving fields and studying materials whose physics may manifest the effects of correlations.