The Discovery of Excitonium

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm

Speaker:  Peter Abbamonte

Program Description:

Bose condensation has shaped our understanding of macroscopic quantum phenomena, having been realized in superconductors, atomic gases, and liquid helium. Excitons are bosons that have been predicted to condense into either a superfluid or an insulating electronic crystal. But definitive evidence for a thermodynamically stable exciton condensate has never been achieved. In this talk I will describe our use of momentum-resolved electron energy-loss spectroscopy (M-EELS) to study the valence plasmon in the transition metal dichalcogenide semimetal, 1T‐TiSe2. Near the phase transition temperature, TC = 190 K, the plasmon energy falls to zero at nonzero momentum, indicating dynamical slowing down of plasma fluctuations and crystallization of the valence electrons into an exciton condensate. At low temperature, the plasmon evolves into an amplitude mode of this electronic crystal. Our study represents the first observation of a soft plasmon in any material, the first definitive evidence for exciton condensation in a three-dimensional solid, and the discovery of a new form of matter, “excitonium.”


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