Photoexcitation of the Mott insulator 1T-TaS2 by an intense laser pulse leads to an ultrafast transition toward a gapless phase. Beside the collapse of the electronic gap, the sudden excitation of the charge density wave mode results into periodic oscillations of the electronic states. We employ time resolved photoelectron spectroscopy to monitor the rich dynamics of electrons and phonons during the relaxation toward equilibrium. The qualitative difference between the oscillatory dynamics of the charge density wave and the monotonic recovery of the electronic gap proves that 1T-TaS2 is indeed a Mott insulator. Moreover the quasi-instantaneous build up of mid gap states is in contrast with the retarded response expected from a Peierls insulating phase. Interestingly, the photoinduced electronic states in the midgap spectral region display a weak resonance that is reminiscent of a quasiparticle peak.
The original publication is available at IOP Institute of Physics by link DOI: 10.1088/1367-2630/10/5/053019