The McMorran Lab is interested in developing and applying advanced techniques in electron microscopy, coherent optics, and nanofabrication to gain fundamental insights into the properties and quantum behavior of matter. Our lab has pioneered the use of nanofabricated diffractive optical elements to sculpt electron matter waves with picoscale feature sizes. We apply this technique inside conventional electron microscopes to prepare electrons in desired quantum states. For example, one highlight of this research is the production and investigation of electron vortex beams, composed of freely propagating electrons in quantized orbital states. In addition to performing fundamental investigations of these unusual free electron states, the group is interested in applying these beams to improve electron microscopes. Specifically, we wish to apply these tools to study the structural, magnetic, and electronic properties of materials at the nanoscale.