Cooperative photoinduced metastable phase control in strained manganite films

Jingdi Zhang, Xuelian Tan, Mengkun Liu, S. W. Teitelbaum, K. W. Post, Feng Jin, K. A. Nelson, D. N. Basov, Wenbin Wu, R. D. Averitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


A major challenge in condensed-matter physics is active control of quantum phases. Dynamic control with pulsed electromagnetic fields can overcome energetic barriers, enabling access to transient or metastable states that are not thermally accessible. Here we demonstrate strain-engineered tuning of La2/3 Ca1/3 MnO3 into an emergent charge-ordered insulating phase with extreme photo-susceptibility, where even a single optical pulse can initiate a transition to a long-lived metastable hidden metallic phase. Comprehensive single-shot pulsed excitation measurements demonstrate that the transition is cooperative and ultrafast, requiring a critical absorbed photon density to activate local charge excitations that mediate magnetic-lattice coupling that, in turn, stabilize the metallic phase. These results reveal that strain engineering can tune emergent functionality towards proximal macroscopic states to enable dynamic ultrafast optical phase switching and control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)956-960
Number of pages5
JournalNature materials
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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