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ULTRAFAST ALL-OPTICAL SPATIO-TEMPORAL ELECTRON MODULATORS: OPENING NEW FRONTIERS IN ELECTRON MICROSCOPY

Project description

Dynamically modulating electrons' wave properties ushers in a new era of electron microscopy

The electron microscope, invented in 1931, enabled us to overcome barriers to higher resolution imposed by the properties of visible light. It harnessed the wave nature of electrons, a discovery that had been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics a few years earlier. Today, modifications of the electron wave function offer the possibility to significantly enhance the performance of electron microscopy, expanding the ways in which it can be used, its spatial and temporal resolution and its sensitivity. The EU-funded SMART-electron project is ushering in a new era of materials' investigation using ultrafast electromagnetic fields to intelligently modulate free-electron wave functions for a step-change in capabilities.

Objective

Addressing the grand-challenges that the world is facing nowadays in connection with ‘energy’, ‘information’ and ‘health’ requires the development of unconventional methods for unprecedented visualization of matter. SMART-electron aims at developing an innovative technological platform for designing, realizing and operating all-optical rapidly-programmable phase masks for electrons. By introducing a new paradigm where properly synthesized ultrafast electromagnetic fields will be used for engineering the phase space of a free-electron wave function, we will be able to achieve unprecedented space/time/energy/momentum shaping of electron matter waves, surpassing conventional passive monolithic schemes and revolutionizing the way materials are investigated in electron microscopy. Such unique high-speed, flexible and precise full-phase multidimensional control, will enable novel advanced imaging approaches in electron microscopy with enhanced features, such as higher image-resolution, lower electron dose, faster acquisition rate, higher signal-to-noise ratio, and three-dimensional image reconstruction, together with higher temporal resolution and high energy-momentum sensitivity. In SMART-electron, we will make such potential a reality by implementing for the first time three beyond-the-state-of-the-art imaging techniques enabled by our photonic-based electron modulators, namely: (1) Ramsey-type Holography, (2) Electron Single-Pixel Imaging, and (3) Quantum Cathodoluminescence. Such new approaches will lead to unprecedented visualization of many-body states in quantum materials, real-time electrochemical reactions, and spatio-temporal localization of biomimetic nanoparticles in cells for drug delivery. By surpassing the current paradigms in terms of electron manipulation, the project has the potential to drive electron microscopy into a new and exciting age where scientists will benefit from new tools with unprecedented performances that were unimaginable until now.

Call for proposal

H2020-FETOPEN-2018-2020

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Sub call

H2020-FETOPEN-2018-2019-2020-01

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Coordinator

UNIVERSITA' DEGLI STUDI DI MILANO-BICOCCA
Net EU contribution
€ 842 750,00
Address
Piazza dell'ateneo nuovo 1
20126 Milano
Italy

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Region
Nord-Ovest Lombardia Milano
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (6)