From enhanced diffusion to ultrafast ballistic motion of hybrid light–matter excitations

Mukundakumar Balasubrahmaniyam, Arie Simkhovich, Adina Golombek, Gal Sandik, Guy Ankonina, Tal Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transport of excitons and charge carriers in molecular systems can be enhanced by coherent coupling to photons, giving rise to the formation of hybrid excitations known as polaritons. Such enhancement has far-reaching technological implications; however, the enhancement mechanism and the transport nature of these hybrid excitations remain elusive. Here we map the ultrafast spatiotemporal dynamics of polaritons formed by mixing surface-bound optical waves with Frenkel excitons in a self-assembled molecular layer, resolving polariton dynamics in energy/momentum space. We find that the interplay between the molecular disorder and long-range correlations induced by coherent mixing with light leads to a mobility transition between diffusive and ballistic transport, which can be controlled by varying the light–matter composition of the polaritons. Furthermore, we show that coupling to light enhances the diffusion coefficient of molecular excitons by six orders of magnitude and even leads to ballistic flow at two-thirds the speed of light.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)338-344
Number of pages7
JournalNature Materials
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • General Materials Science


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