Excitonic Instabilities of Deformable Lattice - from Self-Trapping to Phase Transition
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The optically created exciton will be self-trapped if its coupling to phonons is strong enough, and will moreover be self-decomposed if the electron and the hole couple to phonons in an opposite way. The bistability between the parity-conserved and parity-broken self-trapped excitons was observed in alkali halides. The situation is most dramatic if the bistability between the parity-broken self-trapped exciton and the ground state (with no exciton) comes into play since the electron-hole pairs may then be spontaneously generated at every lattice site, resulting in the electronic and structural phase transition. The neutral to ionic phase transition observed in a few organic charge transfer compounds under applied pressure or decreasing temperature can be considered as an example. Recent experiment revealed that TTF-chloranil, among others, is subject to photo-induced transient phase change over hundreds of unit cells per one photon. The dynamics of this process can be described in terms of self-trapping and self-multiplication of a photo-generated charge transfer exciton along the chain through the attractive dipolar interaction. This description of phase transition in terms of exciton dynamics will provide a new paradigm of materiology.
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