Nonlinear optical properties exhibit a strong dependence on the electronic and crystal structure of materials. One of the most interesting phase transitions is a reversible, solid-solid, semiconductor-conductor phase transition in vanadium dioxide (VO2) that occurs at a temperature of ~68°C [1]. The conductivity of this material increases by several orders of magnitude across this phase transition and results in a change of the linear optical properties as well [2–3]. Recently this phase transformation has been studied using time-resolved optical transmission [4–5] and time-resolved X-ray diffraction [6]. Both experiments demonstrated a rather short (<500 fs) time required for this phase transition to occur.

© 2003 Optical Society of America

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