Small-Polaron Hopping and Low-Temperature (45-225 K) Photo-Induced Transient Absorption in Magnesium-Doped Lithium Niobate

S. Messerschmidt, A. Krampf, L. Vittadello, M. Imlau, T. Nörenberg, L. M. Eng, and D. Emin

Abstract

A strongly temperature-dependent photo-induced transient absorption is measured in 6.5mol% magnesium-doped lithium niobate at temperatures ranging from 45K to 225K. This phenomenon is interpreted as resulting from the generation and subsequent recombination of oppositely charged small polarons. Initial two-photon absorptions generate separated oppositely charged small polarons. The existence of these small polarons is monitored by the presence of their characteristic absorption. The strongly temperature-dependent decay of this absorption occurs as series of thermally assisted hops of small polarons that facilitate their merger and ultimate recombination. Our measurements span the high-temperature regime, where small-polaron jump rates are Arrhenius and strongly dependent on temperature, and the intermediate-temperature regime, where small-polaron jump rates are non-Arrhenius and weakly dependent on temperature. Distinctively, this model provides a good representation of our data with reasonable values of its two parameters: Arrhenius small-polaron hopping’s activation energy and the material’s characteristic phonon frequency.

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