Nonequilibrium electron dynamics in noble metals

N. Del Fatti, C. Voisin, M. Achenmann, Stylianos Tzortzakis, D. Christofilos, F. Vallée

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Electron-electron and electron-lattice interactions in noble metals are discussed in the light of two-color femtosecond pump-probe measurements in silver films. The internal thermalization of a nonequilibrium electron distribution created by intraband absorption of a pump pulse is followed by probing the induced optical property changes in the vicinity of the frequency threshold for the d band to Fermi surface transitions. This is shown to take place with a characteristic time constant of 350 fs, significantly shorter than previously reported in gold. This difference is ascribed to a weaker screening of the electron-electron interaction by the d-band electrons in silver than in gold. These results are in quantitative agreement with numerical simulations of the electron relaxation dynamics using a reduced static screening of the electron-electron Coulomb interaction, and including bound electron screening. Electron-lattice thermalization has been studied using a probe frequency out of resonance with the interband transitions. In both materials, the transient nonthermal nature of the electron distribution leads to the observation of a short-time delay reduction of the energy-loss rate of the electron gas to the lattice, in very good agreement with our theoretical model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16956-16966
Number of pages11
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics

Cite this

Del Fatti, N., Voisin, C., Achenmann, M., Tzortzakis, S., Christofilos, D., & Vallée, F. (2000). Nonequilibrium electron dynamics in noble metals. Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, 61(24), 16956-16966.