We have observed large-amplitude strain waves following a rapid change in density of InSb due to nonthermal melting. The strain has been measured in real time via time-resolved x-ray diffraction, with a temporal resolution better than 2 ps. The change from the solid to liquid density of the surface layer launches a high-amplitude strain wave into the crystalline material below. This induces an effective plane rotation in the asymmetrically cut crystal leading to deflection of the diffracted beam. The uniform strain in the layer below the molten layer is 2.0(±0.2)%. A strain of this magnitude develops within 5 ps of the incident pulse showing that the liquid has reached the equilibrium density within this time frame. Both the strain amplitude and the depth of the strained material in the solid can be explained by assuming a reduction in the speed of sound in the nonequilibrium liquid compared to measured equilibrium values.
- Atom and Molecular Physics and Optics
- Natural Sciences
- Physical Sciences