One of the pivotal questions in the physics of high-temperature superconductors is whether the low-energy dynamics of the charge carriers is mediated by bosons with a characteristic timescale. This issue has remained elusive as electronic correlations are expected to greatly accelerate the electron–boson scattering processes, confining them to the very femtosecond timescale that is hard to access even with state-of-the-art ultrafast techniques. Here we simultaneously push the time resolution and frequency range of transient reflectivity measurements up to an unprecedented level, enabling us to directly observe the ∼16 fs build-up of the effective electron–boson interaction in hole-doped copper oxides. This extremely fast timescale is in agreement with numerical calculations based on the t–J model and the repulsive Hubbard model, in which the relaxation of the photo-excited charges is achieved via inelastic scattering with short-range antiferromagnetic excitations.
- anti-ferromagnetic fluctuations
- electron boson coupling