Polaronic conductivity in the photoinduced phase of 1T-TaS2

Phys Rev Lett. 2011 Jan 7;106(1):016401. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.106.016401. Epub 2011 Jan 4.


The transient optical conductivity of photoexcited 1T-TaS2 is determined over a three-order-of-magnitude frequency range. Prompt collapse and recovery of the Mott gap is observed. However, we find important differences between this transient metallic state and that seen across the thermally driven insulator-metal transition. Suppressed low-frequency conductivity, Fano phonon line shapes, and a midinfrared absorption band point to polaronic transport. This is explained by noting that the photoinduced metallic state of 1T-TaS2 is one in which the Mott gap is melted but the lattice retains its low-temperature symmetry, a regime only accessible by photodoping.