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Observation of photo-induced plasmon–phonon coupling in PbTe via ultrafast x-ray scattering...

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Structural Dynamics
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We report the observation of photo-induced plasmon–phonon coupled modes in the group IV–VI semiconductor PbTe using ultrafast x-ray diffuse scattering at the Linac Coherent Light Source. We measure the near-zone-center excited-state dispersion of the heavily screened longitudinal optical (LO) phonon branch as extracted from differential changes in x-ray diffuse scattering intensity following above bandgap photoexcitation. We suggest that upon photoexcitation, the LO phonon-plasmon coupled (LOPC) modes themselves become coupled to longitudinal acoustic modes that drive electron band shifts via acoustic deformation potentials and possibly to low-energy single-particle excitations within the plasma and that these couplings give rise to displacement-correlations that oscillate in time with a period given effectively by the heavily screened LOPC frequency.