Skip to main content

Scanning Electron Optical Nanoscopy

Periodic Reporting for period 4 - SCEON (Scanning Electron Optical Nanoscopy)

Reporting period: 2021-01-01 to 2021-06-30

The aim of the ERC-SCEON project is to develop cathodoluminescence scanning electron microscopes (CL-SEM) as a tool to investigate light-matter-electron interactions that give new insights in optical materials and phenomena at the nanoscale. Such insights are important for the development of novel opto-electronic devices, solar cells, integrated optics, optical processing and imaging, and more.
We have developed:
1) Angle- and polarization-resolved CL on nanophotonic structures and revealed how the interact with light;
2) An ultrafast pulsed CL microscope equipped with an ultrafast electrostatic beam blanker and demonstrated ultrafast CL imaging microscopy;
3) An ultrafast pump-probe CL microscope equipped with a femtosecond laser-driven cathode and demonstrated ultrafast CL pump-probe spectroscopy.

Using the instruments we have obtained detailed insight in light-electron-matter interaction at the nanoscale. A selection of key novel insights are:
1) Fundamental understanding of photon bunching in cathodoluminescence spectroscopy and application to study carrier dynamics in semiconductors
2) Demonstration of cathodoluminescence holography
3) Subwavelength imaging of optical dispersion of photonic topological insulators
4) Generation of twisted states of light

In parallel we built network of collaborators in electron microscopy in Europe by organising workshops (EBSN, 2017, 2021) and acquiring a new EU Grant with 8 EU partners (eBEAM consortium)

Furthermore, we trained several young scientists who have moved on to top-level jobs in academia, technology Institute, and industry

This work has been reported in 24 scientific publications so far, and 25 invited/keynote presentations at international conferences and workshops.
The two newly developed CL microscopes are unique in the world. The development of the CL microscopes was carried out as a collaboration between AMOLF, Delmic and Thermo Fisher. The two new instruments were introduced at the Equipment Exhibit of the International Microscopy Conference (IMC2018) in Sydney (September 9-14, 2018). Delmic and Thermo Fisher have now taken over the technical design of the two instruments and pursue commercialization and marketing activities. In this way the technical developments in the SCEON project refining their way to other academic users and other markets.