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Ultrafast switching to a stable hidden topologically protected quantum state in an electronic crystal

Abstract : Hidden states of matter with novel and unusual properties may be created if a system out of equilibrium can be induced to follow a trajectory to a state which is inaccessible or does not even exist under normal equilibrium conditions. Here we report on the discovery of a hidden (H) topologically protected electronic state in a layered dichalcogenide 1T-TaS2 crystal reached as a result of a quench caused by a single 35 fs laser pulse. The properties of the H state are markedly different from any other state of the system: it exhibits a large drop of electrical resistance, strongly modified single particle and collective mode spectra and a marked change of optical reflectivity. Particularly important and unusual, the H state is stable for an arbitrarily long time until a laser pulse, electrical current or thermal erase procedure is applied, causing it to revert to the thermodynamic ground state. Major observed events can be reproduced by a kinetic model describing the conversion of photo excited electrons and holes into an electronically ordered crystal, thus converting a Mott insulator to a conducting H state. Its long-time stability follows from the topological protection of the number of periods in the electronic crystal.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 27, 2014 - 4:41:22 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, October 7, 2021 - 3:37:08 AM

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  • HAL Id : hal-00997223, version 1
  • ARXIV : 1401.6786



L. Stojchevska, I. Vaskivskyi, T. Mertelj, P. Kusar, D. Svetin, et al.. Ultrafast switching to a stable hidden topologically protected quantum state in an electronic crystal. Science, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2014, 344, pp.177-180. ⟨hal-00997223⟩



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