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Ehberger, Dominik; Kealhofer, Catherine; Baum, Peter (2018): Electron energy analysis by phase-space shaping with THz field cycles. In: Structural Dynamics, Vol. 5, No. 4, 44303


Time-resolved electron energy analysis and loss spectroscopy can reveal a wealth of information about material properties and dynamical light-matter interactions. Here, we report an all-optical concept for measuring energy spectra of femtosecond electron pulses with sub-eV resolution. Laser-generated terahertz radiation is used to measure arrival time differences within electron pulses with few-femtosecond precision. Controlled dispersion and subsequent compression of the electron pulses provide almost any desired compromise of energy resolution, signal strength, and time resolution. A proof-of-concept experiment on aluminum reveals an energy resolution of <3.5 eV (rms) at 70-keV after a drift distance of only 0.5 m. Simulations of a two-stage scheme reveal that pre-stretched pulses can be used to achieve <10 meV resolution, independent of the source's initial energy spread and limited only by the achievable THz field strength and measuring time.