Ultrafast structural dynamics of boron nitride nanotubes studied using transmitted electrons†
We investigate the ultrafast structural dynamics of multi-walled boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs) upon femtosecond optical excitation using ultrafast electron diffraction in a transmission electron microscope. Analysis of the time-resolved (100) and (002) diffraction profiles reveals highly anisotropic lattice dynamics of BNNTs, which can be attributed to the distinct nature of the chemical bonds in the tubular structure. Moreover, the changes in (002) diffraction positions and intensities suggest that the lattice response of BNNTs to the femtosecond laser excitation involves a fast and a slow lattice dynamic process. The fast process with a time constant of about 8 picoseconds can be understood to be a result of electron–phonon coupling, while the slow process with a time constant of about 100 to 300 picoseconds depending on pump laser fluence is tentatively associated with an Auger recombination effect. In addition, we discuss the power–law relationship of a three-photon absorption process in the BNNT nanoscale system.