Domain dynamics in thin solid films following ultrashort pulse excitation

Jesse J. Dean, David W. Rench, Nitin Samarth, Henry M. Van Driel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


MnAs epilayers grown on GaAs are used as a model system to study the effects of strain and epitaxial constraints on the dynamics of structural domains following 150 fs pulse pumping. Optical diffraction over 7 orders of magnitude of time is used to probe the evolution of the domains that are spatially periodic between 10 and 42 C because of misfit strain and substrate mediated periodic elastic strain. Following excitation of 150 and 190 nm thick films, the domain fractions and the elastic strain oscillate with an ∼400 ps period while the average low temperature phase fraction decreases monotonically for ∼2 ns reflecting MnAs heat diffusion. Equilibrium structures are restored in 100 ns-2 μs via substrate heat diffusion. Excitation of transient periodic domains from the homogeneous low temperature phase can occur for temperatures as low as 4 C but only after ∼20 ns during film cooling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number035701
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 17 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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