Ultracold Electron Bunches

The ability to study the dynamics of non-equilibrium structures with both spatial and temporal resolution at the atomic level (i.e., 1 nm and 100 fs) would advance both physics, chemistry, and biology. In this project, new electron beam regimes are investigated in order to achieve single-shot, ultrafast electron diffraction of structures such as macromoleucles. This requires beams with a large transverse coherence length and a high brightness. We are developing pulsed electron beams that achieve this by virtue of their ultralow temperature of just a few K. Such unique beams can be extracted from an ultracold plasma, which is turn is created from a laser-cooled and trapped atomic gas by pulsed laser-excitation.

Keywords High-brightness electron beams, ultracold plasmas, ultrafast electron diffraction, femtosecond lasers, and laser cooling and trapping.

People involved: The following people are or have been involved in this project:

PhD studentsWouter Engelen and Nicola Debernardi
Recent PhD graduatesMerijn Reijnders, Gabriel Taban and Bert Claessens
MSc studentsClemens Rammeloo
BSc studentsGijs ten Haaf
Recent MSc/BSc graduatesErwin Smakman, Marloes van der Heijden, Joost van Heijst
Staff membersBas van der Geer, Marieke de Loos, Peter Mutsaers, Edgar Vredenbregt, and Jom Luiten


Funding for this project is provided by The Technology Foundation (STW), Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), and the Netherlands Organisation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM). The project is sponsored by FEI Company, and Pulsar Physics