Ultrafast light-induced symmetry changes in single BaTiO3 nanowires†
The coupling of light to nanoscale ferroelectric materials enables novel means of controlling their coupled degrees of freedom and engineering new functionality. Here we present femtosecond time-resolution nonlinear-optical measurements of light-induced dynamics within single ferroelectric barium titanate nanowires. By analyzing the time-dependent and polarization-dependent second harmonic intensity generated by the nanowire, we identify its crystallographic orientation and then make use of this information in order to probe its dynamic structural response and change in symmetry. We show that photo-excitation leads to ultrafast, non-uniform modulations in the second order nonlinear susceptibility tensor, indicative of changes in the local symmetry of the nanostructure occurring on sub-picosecond time-scales.