Ultrafast carrier dynamics in tetrahedral amorphous carbon: carrier trapping versus electron hole recombination
We report the investigation of the ultrafast carrier dynamics in thin tetrahedral amorphous carbon films by means of femtosecond time-resolved reflectivity. We estimated the electron-phonon relaxation time of a few hundred femtoseconds and we observed that under low optical excitation photo-generated carriers decay according to two distinct mechanisms attributed to trapping by defect states and direct electron-hole recombination. With high excitation, when photo-carrier and trap densities are comparable, a unique temporal evolution develops, as the time dependence of the trapping process becomes degenerate with the electron-hole recombination. This experimental evidence highlights the role of defects in the ultrafast electronic dynamics and is not specific to this particular form of carbon, but has general validity for amorphous and disordered semiconductors.