Research ArticlePHYSICS

Ultrafast nonlocal collective dynamics of Kane plasmon-polaritons in a narrow-gap semiconductor

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Science Advances  09 Aug 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 8, eaau9956
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau9956


The observation of ultrarelativistic fermions in condensed-matter systems has uncovered a cornucopia of novel phenomenology as well as a potential for effective ultrafast light engineering of new states of matter. While the nonequilibrium properties of two- and three-dimensional (2D and 3D) hexagonal crystals have been studied extensively, our understanding of the photoinduced dynamics in 3D single-valley ultrarelativistic materials is, unexpectedly, lacking. Here, we use ultrafast scanning near-field optical spectroscopy to access and control nonequilibrium large-momentum plasmon-polaritons in thin films of a prototypical narrow-bandgap semiconductor Hg0.81Cd0.19Te. We demonstrate that these collective excitations exhibit distinctly nonclassical scaling with electron density characteristic of the ultrarelativistic Kane regime and experience ultrafast initial relaxation followed by a long-lived highly coherent state. Our observation and ultrafast control of Kane plasmon-polaritons in a semiconducting material using light sources in the standard telecommunications fiber-optics window open a new avenue toward high-bandwidth coherent information processing in next-generation plasmonic circuits.

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