May 16, 2019

Holographic imaging of electromagnetic fields using electron-light quantum interference

Posted by in categories: encryption, energy, holograms, quantum physics

In conventional holography a photographic film can record the interference pattern of monochromatic light scattered from the object to be imaged with a reference beam of un-scattered light. Scientists can then illuminate the developed image with a replica of the reference beam to create a virtual image of the original object. Holography was originally proposed by the physicist Dennis Gabor in 1948 to improve the resolution of an electron microscope, demonstrated using light optics. A hologram can be formed by capturing the phase and amplitude distribution of a signal by superimposing it with a known reference. The original concept was followed by holography with electrons, and after the invention of lasers optical holography became a popular technique for 3D imaging macroscopic objects, information encryption and microscopy imaging.

However, extending holograms to the ultrafast domain currently remains a challenge with electrons, although developing the technique would allow the highest possible combined spatiotemporal resolution for advanced imaging applications in condensed matter physics. In a recent study now published in Science Advances, Ivan Madan and an interdisciplinary research team in the departments of Ultrafast Microscopy and Electron Scattering, Physics, Science and Technology in Switzerland, the U.K. and Spain, detailed the development of a hologram using local . The scientists obtained the electromagnetic holograms with combined attosecond/nanometer resolution in an ultrafast transmission electron microscope (UEM).

In the new method, the scientists relied on electromagnetic fields to split an electron wave function in a quantum of different energy states. The technique deviated from the conventional method, where the signal of interest and reference spatially separated and recombined to reconstruct the amplitude and phase of a signal of interest to subsequently form a hologram. The principle can be extended to any kind of detection configuration involving a periodic signal capable of undergoing interference, including sound waves, X-rays or femtosecond pulse waveforms.

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