Optically Induced Three-Stage Picosecond Amorphization in Low-Temperature SrTiO3. Academic Article uri icon


  • Photoexcitation can drastically modify potential energy surfaces of materials, allowing access to hidden phases. SrTiO3 (STO) is an ideal material for photoexcitation studies due to its prevalent use in nanostructured devices and its rich range of functionality-changing lattice motions. Recently, a hidden ferroelectric phase in STO was accessed through weak terahertz excitation of polarization-inducing phonon modes. In contrast, whereas strong laser excitation was shown to induce nanostructures on STO surfaces and control nanopolarization patterns in STO-based heterostructures, the dynamic pathways underlying these optically induced structural changes remain unknown. Here nonadiabatic quantum molecular dynamics reveals picosecond amorphization in photoexcited STO at temperatures as low as 10 K. The three-stage pathway involves photoinduced charge transfer and optical phonon activation followed by nonlinear charge and lattice dynamics that ultimately lead to amorphization. This atomistic understanding could guide not only rational laser nanostructuring of STO but also broader "quantum materials on demand" technologies.

published proceedings

  • J Phys Chem Lett

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Linker, T., Tiwari, S., Fukushima, S., Kalia, R. K., Krishnamoorthy, A., Nakano, A., ... Vashishta, P.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Linker, Thomas||Tiwari, Subodh||Fukushima, Shogo||Kalia, Rajiv K||Krishnamoorthy, Aravind||Nakano, Aiichiro||Nomura, Ken-Ichi||Shimamura, Kohei||Shimojo, Fuyuki||Vashishta, Priya

publication date

  • January 2020