Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




Ale Lukaszew

Committee Member

Dennis Manos

Committee Member

Enrico Rossi

Committee Member

Gwyn Williams


Vanadium Dioxide (VO2) is a strongly correlated material which has been studied for many decades. VO2 has been proposed for uses in technologies such as optical modulators, IR modulators, optical switches and Mott memory devices. These technologies are taking advantage of VO2’s insulator to metal transition (IMT) and the corresponding changes to the optical and material properties. The insulator to metal transition in VO2 can be accessed by thermal heating, applied electric field, or ultra-fast photo induced processes. Recently, thin films of VO2 grown on Titanium Dioxide doped with Niobium (TiO2:Nb), have shown promise as a possible UV photo detector with high quantum efficiency which utilizes a heterostructure between these two materials. In this work, the dynamics of the IMT on thin films of VO2 is explored. We show that surface plasmons generated in an Au thin film can induce the insulator to metal transition in a thin film of VO2 due to the enhanced electric field as well as help detect the IMT via changes in its resonance condition. Time resolved pump probe studies were also done on thin films of VO2 grown on TiO2 and TiO2:Nb, using UV photon energy of 3.1 eV (400nm wavelength). The fluence threshold of the IMT at 3.1 eV was significantly lower than published values for the 1.55 eV pump fluence. The time response of the IMT shows uncommon reflectivity dynamics in these samples. The response was partially attributed to internal interference of the reflected probe beam from the inhomogeneous layers formed inside the film by different phases of VO2, and can be elucidated by a diffusion model with respect to its optical properties. Finally, the photocurrent generation time constants for the sample with highest quantum efficiency are given and compared to its ultrafast photo induced IMT time constants.



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