Ultrafast lasers are an increasingly important tool to control and stabilize emergent phases in quantum materials. Among a variety of possible excitation protocols, a particularly intriguing route is the direct light engineering of microscopic electronic parameters, such as the electron hopping and the local Coulomb repulsion (Hubbard U). In this work, we use time-resolved x-ray absorption spectroscopy to demonstrate the light-induced renormalization of the Hubbard U in a cuprate superconductor, La1.905Ba0.095CuO4. We show that intense femtosecond laser pulses induce a substantial redshift of the upper Hubbard band while leaving the Zhang-Rice singlet energy unaffected. By comparing the experimental data to time-dependent spectra of single- and three-band Hubbard models, we assign this effect to an approximately 140-meV reduction of the on-site Coulomb repulsion on the copper sites. Our demonstration of a dynamical Hubbard U renormalization in a copper oxide paves the way to a novel strategy for the manipulation of superconductivity and magnetism as well as to the realization of other long-range-ordered phases in light-driven quantum materials.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)