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Morimoto, Yuya; Baum, Peter (2018): Attosecond Electron Pulse Trains and Applications to Time-Resolved Diffraction and Microscopy. In: Advances in Ultrafast Condensed Phase Physics, Vol. 10673
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Attosecond spectroscopy with laser-generated photons can in principle resolve electronic processes in real time, but a movie-like space-time imaging is impeded by the wavelength, which is similar to 100 times longer than atomic distances. Here we advance attosecond science to sub-atomic spatial resolution by using sub-relativistic electron beams instead of the high-harmonic photons. A beam of 70-keV electrons at 4.5-pm de Broglie wavelength is temporally modulated by the electric field of laser cycles into a train of attosecond pulses with the help of a dielectric modulation element. The pulses in the train have 820-as duration and maintain the degree of coherence of the original electron beam. We demonstrate the feasibility of analytic attosecond-Angstrom imaging by recording time-resolved Bragg diffraction from a single-crystalline silicon. Real-space electron microscopy with the attosecond electron pulses visualizes the propagation of optical waves at a dielectric membrane with sub-wavelength and sub-optical-cycle resolution. This unification of attosecond science with electron diffraction/microscopy will enable the direct visualization of fundamental and complex light-matter interaction in space and time.