Ultrafast quasiparticle relaxation dynamics in normal metals and heavy-fermion materials

K. H. Ahn, M. J. Graf, S. A. Trugman, J. Demsar, R. D. Averitt, J. L. Sarrao, A. J. Taylor

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We present a detailed theoretical study of the ultrafast quasiparticle relaxation dynamics observed in normal metals and heavy-fermion materials with femtosecond time-resolved optical pump-probe spectroscopy. For normal metals, a nonthermal electron distribution gives rise to a temperature-(T) independent electron-phonon relaxation time at low temperatures, in contrast to the T−3-divergent behavior predicted by the two-temperature model. For heavy-fermion compounds, we find that the blocking of electron-phonon scattering for heavy electrons within the density-of-states peak near the Fermi energy is crucial to explain the rapid increase of the electron-phonon relaxation time below the Kondo temperature. We propose the hypothesis that the slower Fermi velocity compared to the sound velocity provides a natural blocking mechanism due to energy and momentum-conservation laws.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 30 2004
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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