Sunday, February 14, 2016

Abstract-Novel electronic ferroelectricity in an organic charge-order insulator investigated with terahertz-pump optical-probe spectroscopy.

    • In electronic-type ferroelectrics, where dipole moments produced by the variations of electron configurations are aligned, the polarization is expected to be rapidly controlled by electric fields. Such a feature can be used for high-speed electric-switching and memory devices. Electronic-type ferroelectrics include charge degrees of freedom, so that they are sometimes conductive, complicating dielectric measurements. This makes difficult the exploration of electronic-type ferroelectrics and the understanding of their ferroelectric nature. Here, we show unambiguous evidence for electronic ferroelectricity in the charge-order (CO) phase of a prototypical ET-based molecular compound, α-(ET)2I3 (ET:bis(ethylenedithio)tetrathiafulvalene), using a terahertz pulse as an external electric field. Terahertz-pump second-harmonic-generation(SHG)-probe and optical-reflectivity-probe spectroscopy reveal that the ferroelectric polarization originates from intermolecular charge transfers and is inclined 27° from the horizontal CO stripe. These features are qualitatively reproduced by the density-functional-theory calculation. After sub-picosecond polarization modulation by terahertz fields, prominent oscillations appear in the reflectivity but not in the SHG-probe results, suggesting that the CO is coupled with molecular displacements, while the ferroelectricity is electronic in nature. The results presented here demonstrate that terahertz-pump optical-probe spectroscopy is a powerful tool not only for rapidly controlling polarizations, but also for clarifying the mechanisms of ferroelectricity.

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