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Enhancing the efficiency of light-induced phase transitions through transient local distortions

Ultrafast light pulses, if they are sufficiently intense, can induce phase transitions on ultrafast timescales. It is now shown that when a system is first excited by a weak preparatory pulse, this generates local changes in structure that transiently lower the energy barrier to the phase transition, enabling high-speed and energy-efficient transitions.

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Fig. 1: Two-pulse excitation of vanadium dioxide.


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This is a summary of: Johnson, A. S. et al. All-optical seeding of a light-induced phase transition with correlated disorder. Nat. Phys. (2024).

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Enhancing the efficiency of light-induced phase transitions through transient local distortions. Nat. Phys. 20, 903–904 (2024).

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