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Relativistic Doppler reflection as a probe for the initial relaxation of a non-equilibrium electron-hole plasma in silicon

D. Thomson, Fanqi Meng, Bo E. Sernelius and Hartmut G. Roskos

Journal of Physics: Conference Series 647 (2015) 012016


This paper reviews the status of investigations of the relativistic Doppler reflection of a broadband terahertz pulse at a counter-propagating plasma front of photo-excited charge carriers in undoped silicon. When a THz pulse with 20-THz bandwidth impinges onto a moving plasma front with a carrier density in the range of 1019 per cm3, one observes a spectral up-shift, which is, however, much less pronounced than expected from simulations assuming a Drude plasma characterized by a single carrier relaxation time τ of the order of 15-100 fs. Qualitative agreement between simulations and experiments can be achieved if τ is chosen to be less than 5 fs. In order to explore carrier relaxation in more detail, optical-pump/THz-probe experiments in the conventional co-propagation geometry were performed. If the pump-probe delay is long enough for monitoring of the equilibrium value of the scattering time, τ ranges from 200 fs at low carrier density to 20 fs in the 1019 cm-3 density range. For small (subpicosecond) pump-probe delay, the data reveal a significantly faster scattering, which slows down during energy relaxation of the charge carriers.

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Last updated: 11/25/15