NanoBeam will develop new directions in electron microscopy, materials, and optical sciences to control and characterize the ultrafast responses of polaritons and electronic states in materials. This will be achieved by (i) a ubiquitous control of slow and fast electron wave packets and (ii) realization of fully coherent light sources using shaped electron wave packets interacting with nanostructures. Quantum coherent control traditionally employs a sequence of optical pulses to direct the response of condensed matter systems towards a desired state, as a tool for novel quantum technologies. This control system has been only recently implemented in electron microscopes, by combining lasers and photoemission electron guns. However, this field is still it its infancy because it does not provide us with important aspects of the sample response such as spectral phase and time-energy evolution of electronic states in samples, which happens at the attosecond time scale.
NanoBeam aims at quantum coherent control within electron microscopes by triggering both electron wave packets and their mechanisms of radiation, using carefully engineered nanostructures. This innovative and unconventional control system is to be achieved by an unprecedented combination of theory and experiment. On the theoretical side, I plan to develop a Maxwell-Schrödinger self-consistent numerical toolbox, to fully understand the interaction of electron wave packets with light and nanostructures beyond the routinely used adiabatic approximations, but also to utilize our expertise in theoretical modelling to propose novel methodologies for coherent control and shaping of the electron beams. On the experimental side, I intend to develop a novel spectral interferometry technique with the ability to retrieve and control the spectral phase in a scanning electron microscope to overcome the challenges in meeting both nanometer spatial and attosecond time resolution.
Fields of science
Funding SchemeERC-STG - Starting Grant