Characterization of photo-induced charge transfer and hot carrier relaxation pathways in spinel cobalt oxide (Co3O4)

Chang Ming Jiang, L. Robert Baker, J. Matthew Lucas, Josh Vura-Weis, A. Paul Alivisatos, Stephen R. Leone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The identities of photoexcited states in thin-film Co3O4 and the ultrafast carrier relaxation dynamics of Co3O4 are investigated with oxidation-state-specific pump-probe femtosecond core level spectroscopy. A thin-film sample is excited near the 2.8 eV optical absorption peak, and the resulting spectral changes at the 58.9 eV M2,3-edge of cobalt are probed in transient absorption with femtosecond high-order harmonic pulses generated by a Ti/sapphire laser. The initial transient state shows a significant 2 eV redshift in the absorption edge compared to the static ground state, which indicates a reduction of the cobalt valence charge. This is confirmed by a charge transfer multiplet spectral simulation, which finds the experimentally observed extreme ultraviolet (XUV) spectrum matches the specific O2-(2p) → Co3+(eg) charge-transfer transition, out of six possible excitation pathways involving Co3+ and Co2+ in the mixed-valence material. The initial transient state has a power-dependent amplitude decay (190 ± 10 fs at 13.2 mJ/cm2) together with a slight redshift in spectral shape (535 ± 33 fs), which are ascribed to hot carrier relaxation to the band edge. The faster amplitude decay is possibly due to a decrease of charge carrier density via an Auger mechanism, as the decay rate increases when more excitation fluence is used. This study takes advantage of the oxidation-state-specificity of time-resolved XUV spectroscopy, further establishing the method as a new approach to measure ultrafast charge carrier dynamics in condensed-phase systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22774-22784
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number39
StatePublished - Oct 2 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • General Energy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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