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Kealhofer, C., Schneider, W., Ehberger, D., Ryabov, A., Krausz, F. and Baum, P. (2016): All-optical control and metrology of electron pulses. In: Science, Vol. 352, No. 6284: pp. 429-433

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Short electron pulses are central to time-resolved atomic-scale diffraction and electron microscopy, streak cameras, and free-electron lasers. We demonstrate phase-space control and characterization of 5-picometer electron pulses using few-cycle terahertz radiation, extending concepts of microwave electron pulse compression and streaking to terahertz frequencies. Optical-field control of electron pulses provides synchronism to laser pulses and offers a temporal resolution that is ultimately limited by the rise-time of the optical fields applied. We used few-cycle waveforms carried at 0.3 terahertz to compress electron pulses by a factor of 12 with a timing stability of <4 femtoseconds (root mean square) and measure them by means of field-induced beam deflection (streaking). Scaling the concept toward multiterahertz control fields holds promise for approaching the electronic time scale in time-resolved electron diffraction and microscopy.

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