This proposal aims at the development of an electron source that will allow controlling the position of free electrons with extremely high precision in space and time. Such a tool will enable novel quantum optics experiments and might turn into an electron source widely used in time-resolved scanning electron microscopy and electron diffraction, a field in which Europe is currently trailing the US. The proposed experiment will be a complementary effort to the applicant’s research that he is currently setting up with a Max Planck Junior Research Group Grant. After his PhD work in T.W. Hänsch’s group the applicant spent four years as postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University and returned to Europe in November 2007. The proposed experiment will transfer much of the applicant’s experience from the US and is based on the combination of a special field emission tip he developed in the US and a femtosecond laser oscillator. Femtosecond laser pulses hit the tip and so emit electrons from nanometric dimensions within timescales of a femtosecond. The final goal is a deterministic electron source, where one and only one electron is emitted with every laser pulse. Such a source would immediately enable classic quantum optics experiments. Advanced emitters will be used that exhibit quantum behaviour such as single atom tips and carbon nanotubes where emission takes place from a single or few atoms only. The proposed work would ideally augment the experiments that the applicant will perform with the Max Planck funds and will initially go in parallel to these. Proposed experiments will potentially allow highly increased visibility of his research and will help him to take the next step towards a faculty position at a respected research institution in Europe. Furthermore, expected results will strengthen research in Europe in an underrepresented field, will be relevant to the applicant’s former host at Stanford and will lead to continued collaboration on a peer level.
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