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This thesis presents the new development of the 3rd generation femtosecond diffractometer (FED) in Professor Jim Cao's group and its application to study ultrafast structural dynamics of solid state materials. The 3rd generation FED prevails its former type and other similar FED instruments by a DC electron gun that can generate much higher energy electron pulses, and a more efficient imaging system. This combination together with miscellaneous improvements significantly boosts the signal-to-noise ratio and thus enables us to study more complex solid state materials. Two main thrusts are discussed in details in this thesis. The first one is the dynamics of coherent phonon generation by ultrafast heating in gold thin film and nano-particles, which emphasizes the electronic thermal stress. The other one is the ultrafast dynamics in Nickel, which shows that the mutual interactions among lattice, spin and electron sub-systems can significantly alter the ultrafast lattice dynamics. In these studies, we exploit the advantage of FED instrument as an ideal tool that can directly and simultaneously monitor the coherent and random motion of lattice.
A Dissertation Submitted to the Department of Physics in Partial FulﬁLlment of the Requirements for the Degree of Ph.D..
Includes bibliographical references.
Florida State University
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