The advent of Dirac materials has made it possible to realize two-dimensional gases of relativistic fermions with unprecedented transport properties in condensed matter. Their photoconductive control with ultrafast light pulses is opening new perspectives for the transmission of current and information. Here we show that the interplay of surface and bulk transient carrier dynamics in a photoexcited topological insulator can control an essential parameter for photoconductivity - the balance between excess electrons and holes in the Dirac cone. This can result in a strongly out of equilibrium gas of hot relativistic fermions, characterized by a surprisingly long lifetime of more than 50 ps, and a simultaneous transient shift of chemical potential by as much as 100 meV. The unique properties of this transient Dirac cone make it possible to tune with ultrafast light pulses a relativistic nanoscale Schottky barrier, in a way that is impossible with conventional optoelectronic materials.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)