Faculté des sciences et de médecine

Theory of photoinduced ultrafast switching to a spin-orbital ordered hidden phase

Li, Jiajun ; Strand, Hugo U.R. ; Werner, Philipp ; Eckstein, Martin

In: Nature Communications, 2018, vol. 9, no. 1, p. 4581

Photo-induced hidden phases are often observed in materials with intertwined orders. Understanding the formation of these non-thermal phases is challenging and requires a resolution of the cooperative interplay between different orders on the ultra-short timescale. In this work, we demonstrate that non-equilibrium photo-excitations can induce a state with spin-orbital orders entirely... More

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    Summary
    Photo-induced hidden phases are often observed in materials with intertwined orders. Understanding the formation of these non-thermal phases is challenging and requires a resolution of the cooperative interplay between different orders on the ultra-short timescale. In this work, we demonstrate that non-equilibrium photo-excitations can induce a state with spin-orbital orders entirely different from the equilibrium state in the three-quarter-filled two-band Hubbard model. We identify a general mechanism governing the transition to the hidden state, which relies on a non-thermal partial melting of the intertwined orders mediated by photoinduced charge excitations in the presence of strong spin-orbital exchange interactions. Our study theoretically confirms the crucial role played by orbital degrees of freedom in the light-induced dynamics of strongly correlated materials and it shows that the switching to hidden states can be controlled already on the fs timescale of the electron dynamics.