Quantum interference between charge excitation paths in a solid-state Mott insulator

S. Wall*, D. Brida, S. R. Clark, H. P. Ehrke, D. Jaksch, A. Ardavan, S. Bonora, H. Uemura, Y. Takahashi, T. Hasegawa, H. Okamoto, G. Cerullo, A. Cavalleri

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

138 Citations (Scopus)


Competition between electron localization and delocalization in Mott insulators underpins the physics of strongly correlated electron systems. Photoexcitation, which redistributes charge, can control this many-body process on the ultrafast1,2 timescale. So far, time-resolved studies have been carried out in solids in which other degrees of freedom, such as lattice, spin or orbital excitations3-5, dominate. However, the underlying quantum dynamics of bareg electronic excitations has remained out of reach. Quantum many-body dynamics are observed only in the controlled environment of optical lattices6,7 where the dynamics are slower and lattice excitations are absent. By using nearly single-cycle near-infrared pulses, we have measured coherent electronic excitations in the organic salt ET-F 2 TCNQ, a prototypical one-dimensional Mott insulator. After photoexcitation, a new resonance appears, which oscillates at 25THz. Time-dependent simulations of the Mottg Hubbard Hamiltonian reproduce the oscillations, showing that electronic delocalization occurs through quantum interference between bound and ionized holong doublon pairs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-118
Number of pages5
JournalNature Physics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2011


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