Nonthermal graphitization of diamond induced by a femtosecond x-ray laser pulse

N. Medvedev, H. O. Jeschke, B. Ziaja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Diamond irradiated with an ultrashort intense laser pulse in the regime of photon energies from soft up to hard x rays can undergo a phase transition to graphite. This transition is induced by an excitation of electrons from the valence band or from atomic deep shells of the material into its conduction band, which is followed by a transient rapid change of the interatomic potential. Such a nonthermal phase transition occurs on a femtosecond time scale, shortly after or even during the laser pulse. In this work we show that the duration of the graphitization depends on the incoming photon energy: the higher the photon energy is, the longer the secondary electron cascading which promotes the electrons into the conduction band will take. The transient kinetics of the electronic and atomic processes during the graphitization is analyzed in detail. The damage threshold fluence is calculated in the broad photon energy range and is found to be always ∼0.7 eV/atom in terms of the average dose absorbed per atom. It is confirmed that the temporal characteristics of a femtosecond laser pulse (at a fixed pulse duration and fluence) do not significantly influence the transient damage kinetics. Finally, the influence of an additional surface layer of high-Z material on the damage within diamond is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number224304
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - Jan 20 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • 41.60.Cr
  • 42.65.Re
  • 61.80.Ba
  • 64.70.K-

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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