Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type



Arts and Sciences


Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

Dr. Joseph W. Brill


We have studied the charge density wave (CDW) repolarization dynamics in blue bronze (K0.3MoO3) by applying symmetric bipolar square-wave voltages of different frequencies to the sample and measuring the changes in infrared transmittance, proportional to CDW strain. The frequency dependence of the electro-transmittance was fit to a modified harmonic oscillator response and the evolution of the parameters as functions of voltage, position, and temperature are discussed. We found that resonance frequencies decrease with distance from the current contacts, indicating that the resulting delays are intrinsic to the CDW with the strain effectively flowing from the contact. For a fixed position, the average relaxation time for most samples has a voltage dependence given by τ0 ∼ V −p, with 1 < p < 2. The temperature dependence of the fitting parameters shows that the dynamics are governed by both the force on the CDW and the CDW current: for a given force and position, both the relaxation and delay times are inversely proportional to the CDW current as temperature is varied. The long delay times (∼ 100 μs) for large CDW currents suggest that the strain response involves the motion of macroscopic objects, presumably CDW phase dislocation lines.

We have done frequency domain simulations to study charge-density-wave (CDW) polarization dynamics when symmetric bipolar square current pulses of different frequencies and amplitudes are applied to the sample, using parameters appropriate for NbSe3 at T = 90 K. The frequency dependence of the strain at one fixed position was fit to the same modified harmonic oscillator response and the behavior of the parameters as functions of current and position are discussed. Delay times increase nonlinearly with distance from the current contacts again, indicating that these are intrinsic to the CDWwith the strain effectively flowing from the contact. For a fixed position and high currents the relaxation time increases with decreasing current, but for low currents its behavior is strongly dependent on the distance between the current contact and the sample ends. This fact clearly shows the effect of the phase-slip process needed in the current conversion process at the contacts. The relaxation and delay times computed (∼ 1 μs) are much shorter than observed in blue bronze (> 100 μs), as expected because NbSe3 is metallic whereas K0.3MoO3 is semiconducting. While our simulated results bear a qualitative resemblance with those obtained in blue bronze, we can not make a quantitative comparison with the K0.3MoO3 results since the CDW in our simulations is current driven, whereas the electro-optic experiment was voltage driven.

Different theoretical models predict that for voltages near the threshold Von, quantities such as the dynamic phase velocity correlation length and CDW velocity vary as ξ ∼ |V/Von − 1| −ν and v ∼ |V/Von − 1|ξ with ν ∼ 1/2 and ζ = 5/6. Additionally, a weakly divergent behavior for the diffusion constant D ∼ |V/Von − 1|−2ν+ζ is expected. Motivated by these premises and the fact that no convincing experimental evidence is known, we carried out measurements of the parameters that govern the CDW repolarization dynamic for voltages near threshold. We found that for most temperatures considered the relaxation time still increases for voltages as small as 1.06Von indicating that the CDW is still in the plastic and presumably in the noncritical limit. However, at one temperature we found that the relaxation time saturates with no indication of critical behavior, giving a new upper limit to the critical regime, of |V/Von − 1| < 0.06.



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