We demonstrate ultrafast core-electron energy-loss spectroscopy in fourdimensional electron microscopy as an element-specific probe of nanoscale dynamics. We apply it to the study of photoexcited graphite with femtosecond and nanosecond resolutions. The transient core-loss spectra, in combination with ab initio molecular dynamics simulations, reveal the elongation of the carbon-carbon bonds, even though the overall behavior is a contraction of the crystal lattice. A prompt energy-gap shrinkage is observed on the picosecond time scale, which is caused by local bond length elongation and the direct renormalization of band energies due to temperature-dependent electron-phonon interactions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics