Nonequilibrium electron dynamics in a solid with a changing nodal excitation gap

Christopher L. Smallwood, Tristan L. Miller, Wentao Zhang, Robert A. Kaindl, Alessandra Lanzara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


We develop a computationally inexpensive model to examine the dynamics of boson-assisted electron relaxation in solids, studying nonequilibrium dynamics in a metal, in a nodal superconductor with a stationary density of states, and in a nodal superconductor where the gap dynamically opens. In the metallic system, the electron population resembles a thermal population at all times, but the presence of even a fixed nodal gap both invalidates a purely thermal treatment and sharply curtails relaxation rates. For a gap that is allowed to open as electron relaxation proceeds, effects are even more pronounced, and gap dynamics become coupled to the dynamics of the electron population. Comparisons to experiments reveal that phase-space restrictions in the presence of a gap are likely to play a significant role in the widespread observation of coexisting femtosecond and picosecond dynamics in the cuprate high-temperature superconductors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number235107
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number23
StatePublished - Jun 6 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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