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Phys Rev Lett. 2000 May 8;84(19):4493-6.

Structural phase transition of aluminum induced by electronic excitation

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Condensed Matter and Thermal Physics Group, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545, USA.


The dynamics of a structural phase transition induced by interband electronic excitation in aluminum is studied by determining the time evolution of the dielectric constant at 1.55 eV through the measurement of the transient reflectivity induced by an ultrafast pump pulse. The threshold fluence and the time scale for this transition are significantly less than the values necessary for ultrafast heat-induced melting, indicating that this phase change is caused by band structure collapse and lattice instability resulting from strong electronic excitation.

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