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Kasmi, L.; Kreier, D.; Bradler, M.; Riedle, Eberhard ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2672-5718 and Baum, P. (2015): Femtosecond single-electron pulses generated by two-photon photoemission close to the work function. In: New Journal of Physics, Vol. 17, 033008 [PDF, 878kB]


Diffraction and microscopy with ultrashort electron pulses can reveal atomic-scale motion during matter transformations. However, the spatiotemporal resolution is significantly limited by the achievable quality of the electron source. Here we report on the emission of femtosecond single/few-electron pulses from a flat metal surface via two-photon photoemission at 50-100 kHz. As pump we use wavelength-tunable visible 40 fs pulses from a noncollinear optical parametric amplifier pumped by a picosecond thin-disk laser. We demonstrate the beneficial influence of photon energies close to the photocathode's work function for the coherence and duration of the electron pulses. The source's stability approaches the shot noise limit after removing second-order correlation with the driving laser power. Two-photon photoemission offers genuine advantages in minimizing emission duration and effective source size directly at the location of photoemission. It produces an unprecedented combination of coherent, ultrashort and ultrastable single/few-electron wave packets for time-resolving structural dynamics.

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