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When light and electrons combine for science

When light and electrons combine for science

Nonlinear optics, a fascinating field of study that explores the often unpredictable behavior of light as it passes through a material, is at the heart of technological and scientific progress. A team of researchers from EPFL andMax Planck Institute He recently incorporated this phenomenon into transmission electron microscopy (TEM), opening new horizons in the field.

The behavior of light as it passes through a material is often unpredictable. This phenomenon is the subject of an entire field of study called Nonlinear opticswhich is now essential for technological and scientific advances, from the development of lasers and optical frequency measurement, to gravitational wave astronomy and quantum information science.

In recent years, nonlinear optics has been applied in optical signal processing, communications, light detection and ranging. All of these applications involve miniaturizing devices that manipulate light nonlinearly on a small chip, enabling complex photonic interactions at the chip scale.

Integrating nonlinear optics into microscopy

A team of scientists fromEPFL The Max Planck Institute incorporated nonlinear optical phenomena into a Transmission electron microscopy (TEM)It is a type of microscope that uses electrons for imaging instead of light.

The study was led by Professor Tobias Kippenberg from EPFL and Professor Klaus Robers, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Interdisciplinary Science.

At the heart of the study Ker Soliton “, waves of light that retain their shape and energy as they move through matter, like a perfectly formed wave of waves moving through the ocean.

Experiment chart. Nonlinear spatiotemporal light patterns in an optical chip-based microscopy resonator modulate the free-electron beam spectrum in a transmission electron microscope. (Image: Yang et al.)

This study used a specific type of Kerr solitons called “scatterers,” which are localized, stable light pulses lasting tens of femtoseconds (one trillionth of a second) that are spontaneously formed in the tiny resonator. Dissipated Kerr solitons can also interact with electrons, which made them crucial to this study.

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Synthetic

The researchers trained Ker Soliton Dissipative waves inside a small optical resonator, a small chip that traps light and distributes it within a reflecting cavity, creating the ideal conditions for these waves. This approach demonstrated the coupling between free electrons and dissipated Kerr solitons, allowing researchers to explore the dynamics of solitons in a small resonator cavity and achieve ultrafast modulation of electron beams.

For better understanding

What is nonlinear optics?

Nonlinear optics is a field of study that explores the often unpredictable behavior of light as it passes through a material.

What is Care Soliton?

A Kerr Soliton is a wave of light that retains its shape and energy as it travels through matter.

What is a transmission electron microscope (TEM)?

TEM is a type of microscope that uses electrons for imaging instead of light.

What is a micro-optical resonator?

A photonic resonator is a small chip that traps light and distributes it within a reflective cavity.

What are the advantages of using Kerr silicones in electron microscopy?

The use of Kerr solitons allows extremely rapid modulation of electron beams, opening new horizons in the field of electron microscopy.

References

Main annotation: The optical slide used in this study, mounted on a transmission electron microscope sample holder and packed with optical fibers. (Image: Yang et al.)

Article: “Free electron interaction with nonlinear optical states in microresonators” – DOI: 10.1126/science.adk2489

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