It was announced this summer that I received a 2013 Early Career Award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for the proposal to develop “Electron Microscopy with Vortex Beams Carrying Orbital Angular Momentum”. I’m very honored and humbled to receive this award, as this was among only a handful of projects selected out of 770 highly competitive proposals submitted by young U.S. scientists. I’m also very excited by the research this enables.
The goal of this project is to develop new electron microscopy capabilities using electron vortex beams. Electron microscopy is one of the most widely used tools for studying energy-related materials at atomic lengthscales, yet the information that it can typically provide is limited by the types of physical interactions occurring between the electron beam and the sample. Electron vortex beams can interact with matter in new ways compared to conventional electron beams because they possess unique orbital, magnetic, and wave properties. The project investigates methods for using the electron vortex beam to directly probe magnetization and electronic orbital structure within materials. Methods are also explored for using these beams to enhance image contrast of carbon-based materials at the nanoscale. To accomplish these goals, the project advances a new technique of using nanofabricated electron optical structures to produce electron vortex beams inside existing microscopes.
This award will be used to provide access to the excellent CAMCOR user facility at the UO, and to help support lab members traveling to and working with collaborators at NIST’s Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST), the National Center for Electron Microscopy (NCEM) at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL), Oak Ridge National Lab’s Shared Research Equipment (ShaRE) User Facility, and other DOE national labs.