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Squeezed thermal phonons precurse nonthermal melting of silicon as a function of fluence
A femtosecond-laser pulse can induce ultrafast nonthermal melting of various materials along pathways that are inaccessible under thermodynamic conditions, but it is not known whether there is any structural modification at fluences just below the melting threshold. Here, we show for silicon that in this regime the room-temperature phonons become thermally squeezed, which is a process that has not been reported before in this material. We find that the origin of this effect is the sudden femtosecond-laser-induc ...