Femtosecond response of quasiparticles and phonons in superconducting YBa(2)Cu(3)O(7-δ) studied by wideband terahertz spectroscopy

Phys Rev Lett. 2010 Aug 6;105(6):067001. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.105.067001. Epub 2010 Aug 2.


We measure the anisotropic midinfrared response of electrons and phonons in bulk YBa(2)Cu(3)O(7-δ) after femtosecond photoexcitation. A line shape analysis of specific lattice modes reveals their transient occupation and coupling to the superconducting condensate. The apex oxygen vibration is strongly excited within 150 fs, demonstrating that the lattice absorbs a major portion of the pump energy before the quasiparticles are thermalized. Our results attest to substantial electron-phonon scattering and introduce a powerful concept probing electron-lattice interactions in a variety of complex materials.