Primary structural dynamics in graphite
The structural dynamics of graphite and graphene are unique, because of the selective coupling between electron and lattice motions and hence the limit on electric and electro-optic properties. Here, we report on the femtosecond probing of graphite films (1–3 nm) using ultrafast electron crystallography in the transmission mode. Two time scales are observed for the dynamics: a 700 fs initial decrease in diffraction intensity due to lattice phonons in optically dark regions of the Brillouin zone, followed by a 12 ps decrease due to phonon thermalization near the Г and K regions. These results indicate the non-equilibrium distortion of the unit cells at early time and the subsequent role of long-wavelength atomic motions in the thermalization process. Theory and experiment are now in agreement regarding the nature of nuclear motions, but the results suggest that potential change plays a role in the lateral dynamics of the lattice.
Additional Information© 2011 IOP Publishing Ltd and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft. Received 9 April 2011. Published 17 June 2011. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research in the Center for Physical Biology at Caltech supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. One of the authors (SS) gratefully acknowledges a scholarship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
Published - Schaefer2011p14633New_J_Phys.pdf
Supplemental Material - njp063030suppdata.pdf