Description: We show that light drives large-amplitude structural changes in thin films of the prototypical ferroelectric PbTiO3 via direct coupling to its intrinsic photovoltaic response. Using time-resolved x-ray scattering to visualize atomic displacements on femtosecond timescales, photoinduced changes in the unit-cell tetragonality are observed. These are driven by the motion of photogenerated free charges within the ferroelectric and can be simply explained by a model including both shift and screening currents, associated with the displacement of electrons first antiparallel to and then parallel to the ferroelectric polarization direction.
Date: February 15, 2012
Creator: Daranciang, Dan
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