Ultrafast transmission electron microscopy using a laser-driven field emitter: Femtosecond resolution with a high coherence electron beam

Ultramicroscopy. 2017 May;176:63-73. doi: 10.1016/j.ultramic.2016.12.005. Epub 2016 Dec 11.


We present the development of the first ultrafast transmission electron microscope (UTEM) driven by localized photoemission from a field emitter cathode. We describe the implementation of the instrument, the photoemitter concept and the quantitative electron beam parameters achieved. Establishing a new source for ultrafast TEM, the Göttingen UTEM employs nano-localized linear photoemission from a Schottky emitter, which enables operation with freely tunable temporal structure, from continuous wave to femtosecond pulsed mode. Using this emission mechanism, we achieve record pulse properties in ultrafast electron microscopy of 9Å focused beam diameter, 200fs pulse duration and 0.6eV energy width. We illustrate the possibility to conduct ultrafast imaging, diffraction, holography and spectroscopy with this instrument and also discuss opportunities to harness quantum coherent interactions between intense laser fields and free-electron beams.

Keywords: Coherent ultrashort electron pulses; Nanoscale photoemitters; Nanoscale structural dynamics; Ultrafast dynamics; Ultrafast transmission electron microscopy (UTEM).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't