Science and Engineering

University of Arizona

Mohammed Hassan
Tucson, AZ
December 2019

In the last decade, Ultrafast Electron Microscopy (UEM) has imaged atomic motion in real time and space, and table-top tools have opened up a vast range of science.  Current UEM research focuses on improving both spatial and temporal resolution to resolve the electron dynamics of matter on sub-femtosecond timescales.  Yet the imaging of electron dynamics remains beyond reach.  The first project goal is to enhance the temporal resolution for electron microscopy to the extreme limits of an attosecond timescale, which is a thousand-times faster than cutting-edge UEM—an advance the PI calls “Attomicroscopy.”  The PI will attempt to achieve this extreme imaging speed by generating single isolated attosecond electron pulses.  Specifically, this optical gating approach will use a laser pulse to control, tame, and confine the burst of free electrons inside the microscope on an attosecond timescale.  Attomicroscopy will open a new era to both directly image and record electron motion in action, for the first time.  As a second goal, the proof-of-principle for the unique Attomicroscopy camera is to directly record movies in real time and space for the surface-plasmon electron motion of a silver nanostructure.  The images and movies will reveal the electronic motion in the context of nanostructure morphology, and potentially pave the way to laser-driven, million-times faster electronics that shape the future of information technology.

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