Schick, D.; Herzog, M.; Wen, H.; Chen, P.; Adamo, C.; Gaal, P.; Schlom, D.G.; Evans, P.G.; Li, Y.; Bargheer, M.: Localized Excited Charge Carriers Generate Ultrafast Inhomogeneous Strain in the Multiferroic BiFeO3. Physical Review Letters 112 (2014), p. 097602/1-6
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We apply ultrafast x-ray diffraction with femtosecond temporal resolution to monitor the lattice dynamics in a thin film of multiferroic BiFeO3 after above-band-gap photoexcitation. The sound-velocity limited evolution of the observed lattice strains indicates a quasi-instantaneous photoinduced stress which decays on a nanosecond time scale. This stress exhibits an inhomogeneous spatial profile evidenced by the broadening of the Bragg peak. These new data require substantial modification of existing models of photogenerated stresses in BiFeO3: the relevant excited charge carriers must remain localized to be consistent with the data.