Observation of intra- and inter-band transitions in the transient optical response of graphene

Leandro M. Malard, Kin Fai Mak, A. H. Castro Neto, N. M.R. Peres, Tony F. Heinz

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The transient optical conductivity of freely suspended graphene was examined by femtosecond time-resolved spectroscopy using pump excitation at 400 nm and probe radiation at 800 nm. The optical conductivity (or, equivalently, absorption) changes abruptly upon excitation and subsequently relaxes to its initial value on the time scale of 1 ps. The form of the induced change in the optical conductivity varies strongly with excitation conditions, exhibiting a crossover from enhanced to decreased optical conductivity with increasing pump fluence. We describe the graphene response in terms of transient heating of the electrons, with the characteristic relaxation time of the transient conductivity reflecting the cooling of the electron system and the strongly coupled optical phonons through emission of lower energy phonons. The change in the optical conductivity is attributed to a combination of induced absorption from intra-band transitions of the photo-generated carriers and bleaching of the inter-band transitions by Pauli blocking. The former effect, which corresponds to the high-frequency wing of the Drude response, dominates at low pump fluence. In this regime of a limited rise in the electron temperature, an increase in the optical conductivity is observed. At high pump fluence, elevated electron temperatures are achieved. The decrease in the inter-band bleaching then dominates the transient response, the intra-band contribution being overwhelmed despite an increase in the Drude scattering rate with temperature. The temporal evolution of the optical conductivity in all the regimes can be described within a model including the intra- and inter-band contributions with a time-varying electronic temperature. An increased Drude scattering rate is inferred for high electron temperature and mechanisms for this enhancement are considered. The calculated scattering rate for interactions of the carriers with zone-center and zone-edge optical phonons agrees well with the rates obtained from experiment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number015009
JournalNew Journal of Physics
StatePublished - Jan 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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