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Phys Rev Lett. 2018 Jun 29;120(26):267202. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.120.267202.

Unexpected Intermediate State Photoinduced in the Metal-Insulator Transition of Submicrometer Phase-Separated Manganites.

Lin H1, Liu H1, Lin L2, Dong S2, Chen H1, Bai Y1, Miao T1, Yu Y1, Yu W1, Tang J3, Zhu Y1, Kou Y1, Niu J1, Cheng Z3, Xiao J1,4,5, Wang W1,4, Dagotto E6,7, Yin L1,4,5, Shen J1,4,5.

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State Key Laboratory of Surface Physics and Department of Physics, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China.
School of Physics, Southeast University, Nanjing 211189, China.
Beijing National Laboratory for Condensed Matter Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, China.
Institute for Nanoelectronics Devices and Quantum Computing, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China.
Collaborative Innovation Center of Advanced Microstructures, Nanjing 210093, China.
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996, USA.
Materials Science and Technology Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831, USA.


At ultrafast timescales, the initial and final states of a first-order metal-insulator transition often coexist forming clusters of the two phases. Here, we report an unexpected third long-lived intermediate state emerging at the photoinduced first-order metal-insulator transition of La_{0.325}Pr_{0.3}Ca_{0.375}MnO_{3}, known to display submicrometer length-scale phase separation. Using magnetic force microscopy and time-dependent magneto-optical Kerr effect, we determined that the third state is a nanoscale mixture of the competing ferromagnetic metallic and charge-ordered insulating phases, with its own physical properties. This discovery bridges the two different families of colossal magnetoresistant manganites known experimentally and shows for the first time that the associated states predicted by theory can coexist in a single sample.

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