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Journal Article

Highly Coherent Electron Beam from a Laser-Triggered Tungsten Needle Tip


Hommelhoff,  Peter
Hommelhoff Group, Associated Groups, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Max Planck Society;

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Ehberger, D., Hammer, J., Eisele, M., Krueger, M., Noe, J., Hoegele, A., et al. (2015). Highly Coherent Electron Beam from a Laser-Triggered Tungsten Needle Tip. PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS, 114(22): 227601. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.114.227601.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002D-63B8-F
We report on a quantitative measurement of the spatial coherence of electrons emitted from a sharp metal needle tip. We investigate the coherence in photoemission triggered by a near-ultraviolet laser with a photon energy of 3.1 eV and compare it to dc-field emission. A carbon nanotube is brought into close proximity to the emitter tip to act as an electrostatic biprism. From the resulting electron matter wave interference fringes, we deduce an upper limit of the effective source radius both in laser-triggered and dc-field emission mode, which quantifies the spatial coherence of the emitted electron beam. We obtain (0.80 +/- 0.05) nm in laser-triggered and (0.55 +/- 0.02) nm in dc-field emission mode, revealing that the outstanding coherence properties of electron beams from needle tip field emitters are largely maintained in laser-induced emission. In addition, the relative coherence width of 0.36 of the photoemitted electron beam is the largest observed so far. The preservation of electronic coherence during emission as well as ramifications for time-resolved electron imaging techniques are discussed.