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Quantitative hyperspectral coherent diffractive imaging spectroscopy of a solid-state phase transition in vanadium dioxide

Johnson, Allan S.; Conesa, Jordi Valls; Vidas, Luciana; Perez-Salinas, Daniel; Günther, Christian M.; Pfau, Bastian; Hallman, Kent A.; Haglund, Richard F. Jr.; Eisebitt, Stefan; Wall, Simon

FG Röntgenoptik und Nanometer-Optik

Solid-state systems can host a variety of thermodynamic phases that can be controlled with magnetic fields, strain, or laser excitation. Many phases that are believed to exhibit exotic properties only exist on the nanoscale, coexisting with other phases that make them challenging to study, as measurements require both nanometer spatial resolution and spectroscopic information, which are not easily accessible with traditional x-ray spectromicroscopy techniques. Here, we use coherent diffractive imaging spectroscopy (CDIS) to acquire quantitative hyperspectral images of the prototypical quantum material vanadium oxide across the vanadium L2,3 and oxygen K x-ray absorption edges with nanometer-scale resolution. We extract the full complex refractive indices of the monoclinic insulating and rutile conducting phases of VO2 from a single sample and find no evidence for correlation-driven phase transitions. CDIS will enable quantitative full-field x-ray spectromicroscopy for studying phase separation in time-resolved experiments and other extreme sample environments where other methods cannot operate.