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Journal Article

Spatiotemporal Electron Beam Focusing through Parallel Interactions with Shaped Optical Fields


Ropers,  Claus       
Department of Ultrafast Dynamics, Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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García De Abajo, F., & Ropers, C. (2023). Spatiotemporal Electron Beam Focusing through Parallel Interactions with Shaped Optical Fields. Physical Review Letters, 130(24): 246901. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.130.246901.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000D-B088-2
The ability to modulate free electrons with light has emerged as a powerful tool to produce attosecond electron wave packets. However, research has so far aimed at the manipulation of the longitudinal wave function component, while the transverse degrees of freedom have primarily been utilized for spatial rather than temporal shaping. Here, we show that the coherent superposition of parallel light-electron interactions in transversally separate zones allows for a simultaneous spatial and temporal compression of a convergent electron wave function, enabling the formation of sub-Ångström focal spots of attosecond duration. Specifically, spots spanning just ∼3% of the light optical cycle are shown to be formed, accompanied by an increase by only a factor of 2 in spatial extension relative to an unperturbed beam. The proposed approach will facilitate the exploration of previously inaccessible ultrafast atomic-scale phenomena, in particular enabling attosecond scanning transmission electron microscopy.