Due to the strong dependence of electronic properties on the local bonding environment, a full characterization of the structural dynamics in ultrafast experiments is critical. Here, we report the dynamics and structural refinement at nanosecond time scales of a perovskite thin film by combining optical excitation with time-resolved X-ray diffraction. This is achieved by monitoring the temporal response of both integer and half-integer diffraction peaks of LaVO3 in response to an above-band-gap 800 nm pump pulse. We find that the lattice expands by 0.1% out of plane, and the relaxation is characterized by a biexponential decay with 2 and 12 ns time scales. We analyze the relative intensity change in half-integer peaks and show that the distortions to the substructure are small: the oxygen octahedral rotation angles decrease by ∼0.3° and La displacements decrease by ∼0.2 pm, which directly corresponds to an ∼0.8° increase in the V-O-V bond-angles, an in-plane V-O bond length reduction of ∼0.3 pm, and an unchanged out-of-plane bond length. This demonstration of tracking the atomic positions in a pump-probe experiment provides experimentally accessible values for structural and electronic tunability in this class of materials and will stimulate future experiments.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Condensed Matter Physics