Direct and inverse Auger scattering are amongst the primary processes that mediate the thermalization of hot carriers in semiconductors. These two processes involve the annihilation or generation of an electron-hole pair by exchanging energy with a third carrier, which is either accelerated or decelerated. Inverse Auger scattering is generally suppressed, as the decelerated carriers must have excess energies higher than the band gap itself. In graphene, which is gapless, inverse Auger scattering is instead predicted to be dominant at the earliest time delays. Here, $<8$ femtosecond extreme-ultraviolet pulses are used to detect this imbalance, tracking both the number of excited electrons and their kinetic energy with time- and angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy. Over a time window of approximately 25 fs after absorption of the pump pulse, we observe an increase in conduction band carrier density and a simultaneous decrease of the average carrier kinetic energy, revealing that relaxation is in fact dominated by inverse Auger scattering. Measurements of carrier scattering at extreme timescales by photoemission will serve as a guide to ultrafast control of electronic properties in solids for PetaHertz electronics.
Gierz, I., Calegari, F., Aeschlimann, S., Chávez Cervantes, M., Cacho, C., Chapman, R. T., … Cavalleri, A. (2015). Tracking Primary Thermalization Events in Graphene with Photoemission at Extreme Time Scales. Physical Review Letters, 115(8). https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.115.086803