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  1. Abstract Colloidal quantum wells, or nanoplatelets, show among the lowest thresholds for amplified spontaneous emission and lasing among solution-cast materials and among the highest modal gains of any known materials. Using solution measurements of colloidal quantum wells, this work shows that under photoexcitation, optical gain increases with pump fluence before rolling off due to broad photoinduced absorption at energies lower than the band gap. Despite the common occurrence of gain induced by an electron–hole plasma found in bulk materials and epitaxial quantum wells, under no measurement conditions was the excitonic absorption of the colloidal quantum wells extinguished and gain arising from a plasma observed. Instead, like gain, excitonic absorption reaches a minimum intensity near a photoinduced carrier sheet density of 2 × 10 13  cm −2 above which the absorption peak begins to recover. To understand the origins of these saturation and reversal effects, measurements were performed with different excitation energies, which deposit differing amounts of excess energy above the band gap. Across many samples, it was consistently observed that less energetic excitation results in stronger excitonic bleaching and gain for a given carrier density. Transient and static optical measurements at elevated temperatures, as well as transient X-ray diffraction of the samples,more »suggest that the origin of gain saturation and reversal is a heating and disordering of the colloidal quantum wells which produces sub-gap photoinduced absorption.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
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  3. Abstract The interplay between a multitude of electronic, spin, and lattice degrees of freedom underlies the complex phase diagrams of quantum materials. Layer stacking in van der Waals (vdW) heterostructures is responsible for exotic electronic and magnetic properties, which inspires stacking control of two-dimensional magnetism. Beyond the interplay between stacking order and interlayer magnetism, we discover a spin-shear coupling mechanism in which a subtle shear of the atomic layers can have a profound effect on the intralayer magnetic order in a family of vdW antiferromagnets. Using time-resolved X-ray diffraction and optical linear dichroism measurements, interlayer shear is identified as the primary structural degree of freedom that couples with magnetic order. The recovery times of both shear and magnetic order upon optical excitation diverge at the magnetic ordering temperature with the same critical exponent. The time-dependent Ginzburg-Landau theory shows that this concurrent critical slowing down arises from a linear coupling of the interlayer shear to the magnetic order, which is dictated by the broken mirror symmetry intrinsic to the monoclinic stacking. Our results highlight the importance of interlayer shear in ultrafast control of magnetic order via spin-mechanical coupling.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  4. Terahertz (THz) sciences and technologies have contributed to a rapid development of a wide range of applications and expanded the frontiers in fundamental science. Spintronic terahertz emitters offer conceptual advantages since the spin orientation in the magnetic layer can be easily controlled either by the externally applied magnetic field or by the internal magnetic field distribution determined by the specific shape of the magnetic elements. Here, we report a switchable terahertz source based on micropatterned magnetic heterostructures driven by femtosecond laser pulses. We show that the precise tunability of the polarization state is facilitated by the underlying magnetization texture of the magnetic layer that is dictated by the shape of the microstructure. These results also reveal the underlying physical mechanisms of a nonuniform magnetization state on the generation of ultrafast spin currents in the magnetic heterostructures. Our findings indicate that the emission of the linearly polarized THz waves can be switched on and off by saturating the sample using a biasing magnetic field, opening fascinating perspectives for integrated on-chip THz devices with wide-ranging potential applications.
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