Femtosecond transmission electron microscopy for nanoscale photonics: a numerical study†
Recent developments in ultrafast electron microscopy have shown that spatial and temporal information can be collected simultaneously on very small and fast scales. In the present work, an instrumental design study with application to nanoscale dynamics, we optimize the conditions for a femtosecond transmission electron microscope (fs-TEM). The fs-TEM numerically studied employs a metallic nanotip source, electrostatic acceleration, magnetic lenses, a condenser-objective around the sample and a temporal compressor, and considers space-charge effects during propagation. We find a spatial resolution of the order of 1 nm and a temporal resolution of below 10 fs will be feasible for pulses comprised of on average 20 electrons. The influence of a transverse electric field at the sample plane is modelled, indicating 1 V μm−1 can be resolved, corresponding to a surface charge density of 10e per μm2, comparable to fields generated in light-driven electronics and ultrafast nanoplasmonics. The realisation of such an instrument is anticipated to facilitate unprecedented elucidation of laser-initiated physical, chemical and biological structural dynamics on atomic time- and length-scales.
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