Atom size electron vortex beams with selectable orbital angular momentum

D Pohl and S Schneider and P Zeiger and J Rusz and P Tiemeijer and S Lazar and K Nielsch and B Rellinghaus, SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 7, 934 (2017).

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-01077-9

The decreasing size of modern functional magnetic materials and devices cause a steadily increasing demand for high resolution quantitative magnetic characterization. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) based measurements of the electron energy-loss magnetic chiral dichroism (EMCD) may serve as the needed experimental tool. To this end, we present a reliable and robust electron-optical setup that generates and controls user-selectable single state electron vortex beams with defined orbital angular momenta. Our set-up is based on a standard high- resolution scanning TEM with probe aberration corrector, to which we added a vortex generating fork aperture and a miniaturized aperture for vortex selection. We demonstrate that atom size probes can be formed from these electron vortices and that they can be used for atomic resolution structural and spectroscopic imaging - both of which are prerequisites for future atomic EMCD investigations.

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