Excitation of longitudinal and transverse coherent acoustic phonons in nanometer free-standing films of (001) Si

M. Harb , W. Peng , G. Sciaini , C.T. Hebeisen , R. Ernstorfer , M.A. Eriksson , M.G. Lagally , S.G. Kruglik , R. Miller

Bibtex , URL
Physical Review B, 79, 9, 094301.1 - 094301.8
Published 01 Mar. 2009
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.79.094301
ISSN: 1098-0121


Transmission electron diffraction is naturally sensitive to the detection of shear-type deformations in single-crystalline structures due to the effective tilting of the lattice planes characteristic of shear, but in general is insensitive to longitudinal phonon propagation. Here, we report on the generation and detection of both transverse and longitudinal coherent acoustic phonons in 33 nm free-standing (001)-oriented single crystalline Si films using femtosecond electron diffraction (FED) to monitor these laser-induced atomic displacements. The mechanism for excitation of the shear mode that leads to coupling to the longitudinal phonon is attributed to the inhomogeneous lateral profile of the optical-pump pulse and the periodic boundary condition imposed by the supporting grid structure. In this application, the constructive interference in the diffraction process makes FED particularly sensitive to the detection of coherent phonon modes and offers an atomic perspective of the dynamics involving collective motions.