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Ultrafast bandgap narrowing and cohesion loss of photoexcited fused silica

Abstract : Coupling and spatial localization of energy on ultrafast timescales and particularly on the timescale of the excitation pulse in ultrashort laser irradiated dielectric materials are key elements for enabling processing precision beyond the optical limit. Transforming matter on mesoscopic scales facilitates the definition of nanoscale photonic functions in optical glasses. On these timescales, quantum interactions induced by charge non-equilibrium become the main channel for energy uptake and transfer as well as for the material structural change. We apply a first-principles model to determine dynamic distortions of energy bands following the rapid increase in the free-carrier population in an amorphous dielectric excited by an ultrashort laser pulse. Fused silica glass is reproduced using a system of (SiO 4 ) 4− tetrahedra, where density functional theory extended to finite-temperature fractional occupation reproduces ground and photoexcited states. Triggered by electronic charge redistribution, a bandgap narrowing of more than 2 eV is shown to occur in fused silica under geometry relaxation. Calculations reveal that the bandgap decrease results from the rearrangement of atoms altering the bonding strength. Despite an atomic movement impacting strongly the structural stability, the observed change of geometry remains limited to 7% of the interatomic distance and occurs on the femtosecond timescale. This structural relaxation is thus expected to take place quasi-instantly following the photon energy flux. Moreover, under intense laser pulse excitation, fused silica loses its stability when an electron temperature of around 2.8 eV is reached. A further increase in the excitation energy leads to the collapse of both the structure and bandgap.
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Contributor : Razvan Stoian Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, October 13, 2022 - 6:44:16 PM
Last modification on : Friday, October 14, 2022 - 3:47:12 AM


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Arshak Tsaturyan, Elena Kachan, Razvan Stoian, Jean-Philippe Colombier. Ultrafast bandgap narrowing and cohesion loss of photoexcited fused silica. Journal of Chemical Physics, 2022, 156 (22), pp.224301. ⟨10.1063/5.0096530⟩. ⟨ujm-03814250⟩



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