Publications

2018
H. T. Stinson, et al., “Imaging the nanoscale phase separation in vanadium dioxide thin films at terahertz frequencies”, NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, vol. 9, p. 3604, 2018.Abstract
Vanadium dioxide (VO2) is a material that undergoes an insulator-metal transition upon heating above 340 K. It remains debated as to whether this electronic transition is driven by a corresponding structural transition or by strong electron-electron correlations. Here, we use apertureless scattering near-field optical microscopy to compare nanoscale images of the transition in VO2 thin films acquired at both mid-infrared and terahertz frequencies, using a home-built terahertz near-field microscope. We observe a much more gradual transition when THz frequencies are utilized as a probe, in contrast to the assumptions of a classical first-order phase transition. We discuss these results in light of dynamical mean-field theory calculations of the dimer Hubbard model recently applied to VO2, which account for a continuous temperature dependence of the optical response of the VO2 in the insulating state.