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Speed limit of the insulator-metal transition in magnetite

  • As the oldest known magnetic material, magnetite (Fe3O4) has fascinated mankind for millennia. As the first oxide in which a relationship between electrical conductivity and fluctuating/localized electronic order was shown(1), magnetite represents a model system for understanding correlated oxides in general. Nevertheless, the exact mechanism of the insulator-metal, or Verwey, transition has long remained inaccessible(2-8). Recently, three- Fe- site lattice distortions called trimeronswere identified as the characteristic building blocks of the low-temperature insulating electronically ordered phase(9). Here we investigate the Verwey transition with pump- probe X- ray diffraction and optical reflectivity techniques, and show how trimerons become mobile across the insulator-metal transition. We find this to be a two- step process. After an initial 300 fs destruction of individual trimerons, phase separation occurs on a 1.5 +/- 0.2 ps timescale to yield residual insulating and metallic regions. This work establishes the speed limit forAs the oldest known magnetic material, magnetite (Fe3O4) has fascinated mankind for millennia. As the first oxide in which a relationship between electrical conductivity and fluctuating/localized electronic order was shown(1), magnetite represents a model system for understanding correlated oxides in general. Nevertheless, the exact mechanism of the insulator-metal, or Verwey, transition has long remained inaccessible(2-8). Recently, three- Fe- site lattice distortions called trimeronswere identified as the characteristic building blocks of the low-temperature insulating electronically ordered phase(9). Here we investigate the Verwey transition with pump- probe X- ray diffraction and optical reflectivity techniques, and show how trimerons become mobile across the insulator-metal transition. We find this to be a two- step process. After an initial 300 fs destruction of individual trimerons, phase separation occurs on a 1.5 +/- 0.2 ps timescale to yield residual insulating and metallic regions. This work establishes the speed limit for switching in future oxide electronics(10).show moreshow less

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Author:S. de Jong, R. Kukreja, C. Trabant, N. Pontius, C. F. Chang, T. Kachel, M. Beye, F. Sorgenfrei, C. H. Back, B. Braeuer, W. F. Schlotter, J. J. Turner, O. Krupin, M. Doehler, D. Zhu, M. A. Hossain, A. O. Scherz, D. Fausti, F. Novelli, M. Esposito, W. S. Lee, Y. D. Chuang, D. H. Lu, R. G. Moore, M. Yi, M. Trigo, P. Kirchmann, L. Pathey, M. S. Golden, M. Buchholz, P. Metcalf, F. Parmigiani, W. Wurth, A. Foehlisch, C. Schuessler-Langeheine, H. A. Duerr
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/NMAT3718
ISSN:1476-1122 (print)
ISSN:1476-4660 (online)
Parent Title (English):Nature materials
Publisher:Nature Publ. Group
Place of publication:London
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2013
Year of Completion:2013
Release Date:2017/03/26
Volume:12
Issue:10
Pagenumber:5
First Page:882
Last Page:886
Funder:Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences (SIMES) [DE-AC02-76SF00515]; LCLS by the US Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Sciences; Stanford University through the Stanford Institute for Materials Energy Sciences (SIMES); Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) [DE-AC02-05CH11231]; University of Hamburg through the BMBF priority programme FSP [301]; Center for Free Electron Laser Science (CFEL); FOM/NWO; Helmholtz Virtual Institute Dynamic Pathways in Multidimensional Landscapes; DFG [SFB 608]; BMBF [05K10PK2]; SFB [925]; European Union Seventh Framework Programme [280555]; Italian Ministry of University and Research [FIRB-RBAP045JF2, FIRB-RBAP06AWK3]
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Physik und Astronomie
Peer Review:Referiert