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Thursday, July 18, 2019 - 11:15 to 12:30 Auditorium
Laser manipulation of quantum particles, such as atoms, ions, and molecules, underpins much of modern physics. Electrons, too, can be coherently controlled by light. In this work, we study electron-laser interaction in free space and find that the conventional description based on the effective (ponderomotive) potential requires significant modification. We demonstrate laser-based phase manipulation of the electron wave function by performing interferometric experiments in a transmission electron microscope (TEM) and capture TEM images of the light wave. We then utilize the laser-induced phase shift to realize a nearly ideal phase plate for Zernike phase contrast TEM, solving a long-standing problem and addressing the challenge of dose-efficient interrogation of radiation-sensitive specimens. The laser phase plate is widely expected to advance the TEM studies of protein structure and cell organization.