# Ultrafast dynamic conductivity and scattering rate saturation of photoexcited charge carriers in silicon investigated with a midinfrared continuum probe

**Fanqi Meng, Mark D. Thomson, Bo E. Sernelius, Michael Jörger, and Hartmut G. Roskos**

**PHYSICAL REVIEW B 91, 075201 (2015). Published 4 Februari 2015**

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevB.91.075201

The paper has been selected as the Editor's Suggestion

We employ ultrabroadband terahertz-midinfrared probe pulses to characterize the optical response of photoinduced charge-carrier plasmas in high-resistivity silicon in a reflection geometry, over a wide range of excitation densities (10^{15}–10^{19} cm^{−3}) at room temperature. In contrast to conventional terahertz spectroscopy studies, this enables one to directly cover the frequency range encompassing the resultant plasma frequencies. The intensity reflection spectra of the thermalized plasma, measured using sum-frequency (up-conversion) detection of the probe pulses, can be modeled well by a standard Drude model with a density-dependent momentum scattering time of ∼200 fs at low densities, reaching ∼20 fs for densities of ∼10^{19} cm^{−3}, where the increase of the scattering rate saturates. This behavior can be reproduced well with theoretical results based on the generalized Drude approach for the electron-hole scattering rate, where the saturation occurs due to phase-space restrictions as the plasma becomes degenerate. We also study the initial subpicosecond temporal development of the Drude response and discuss the observed rise in the scattering time in terms of initial charge-carrier relaxation, as well as the optical response of the photoexcited sample as predicted by finite-difference time-domain simulations.

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02/17/15