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Ultramicroscopy ; 257: 113889, 2024 Mar.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38056397


Direct electron detection is currently revolutionizing many fields of electron microscopy due to its lower noise, its reduced point-spread function, and its increased quantum efficiency. More specifically to this work, Timepix3 is a hybrid-pixel direct electron detector capable of outputting temporal information of individual hits in its pixel array. Its architecture results in a data-driven detector, also called event-based, in which individual hits trigger the data off the chip for readout as fast as possible. The presence of a pixel threshold value results in an almost readout-noise-free detector while also defining the hit time of arrival and the time the signal stays over the pixel threshold. In this work, we have performed various experiments to calibrate and correct the Timepix3 temporal information, specifically in the context of electron microscopy. These include the energy calibration, and the time-walk and pixel delay corrections, reaching an average temporal resolution throughout the entire pixel matrix of 1.37±0.04ns. Additionally, we have also studied cosmic rays tracks to characterize the charge dynamics along the volume of the sensor layer, allowing us to estimate the limits of the detector's temporal response depending on different bias voltages, sensor thickness, and the electron beam ionization volume. We have estimated the uncertainty due to the ionization volume ranging from about 0.8 ns for 60 keV electrons to 8.8 ns for 300 keV electrons.

Nat Commun ; 14(1): 4442, 2023 Jul 24.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-37488103


The synergy between free electrons and light has recently been leveraged to reach an impressive degree of simultaneous spatial and spectral resolution, enabling applications in microscopy and quantum optics. However, the required combination of electron optics and light injection into the spectrally narrow modes of arbitrary specimens remains a challenge. Here, we demonstrate microelectronvolt spectral resolution with a sub-nanometer probe of photonic modes with quality factors as high as 104. We rely on mode matching of a tightly focused laser beam to whispering gallery modes to achieve a 108-fold increase in light-electron coupling efficiency. By adapting the shape and size of free-space optical beams to address specific physical questions, our approach allows us to interrogate any type of photonic structure with unprecedented spectral and spatial detail.

Sci Adv ; 8(40): eabq4947, 2022 Oct 07.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-36206335


Following optical excitations' life span from creation to decay into photons is crucial in understanding materials photophysics. Macroscopically, this is studied using optical techniques, such as photoluminescence excitation spectroscopy. However, excitation and emission pathways can vary at nanometer scales, preventing direct access, as no characterization technique has the relevant spatial, spectral, and time resolution. Here, using combined electron spectroscopies, we explore excitations' creation and decay in two representative optical materials: plasmonic nanoparticles and luminescent two-dimensional layers. The analysis of the energy lost by an exciting electron that is coincident in time with a visible-ultraviolet photon unveils the decay pathways from excitation toward light emission. This is demonstrated for phase-locked (coherent) interactions (localized surface plasmons) and non-phase-locked ones (point defect excited states). The developed cathodoluminescence excitation spectroscopy images energy transfer pathways at the nanometer scale, widening the available toolset to explore nanoscale materials.

Ultramicroscopy ; 239: 113539, 2022 Sep.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35598348


The acquisition of a hyperspectral image is nowadays a standard technique used in the scanning transmission electron microscope. It relates the spatial position of the electron probe to the spectral data associated with it. In the case of electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS), frame-based hyperspectral acquisition is much slower than the achievable rastering time of the scan unit (SU), which sometimes leads to undesirable effects in the sample, such as electron irradiation damage, that goes unperceived during frame acquisition. In this work, we have developed an event-based hyperspectral EELS by using a Timepix3 application-specific integrated circuit detector with two supplementary time-to-digital (TDC) lines embedded. In such a system, electron events are characterized by their positional and temporal coordinates, but TDC events only by temporal ones. By sending reference signals from the SU to the TDC line, it is possible to reconstruct the entire spectral image with SU-limited scanning pixel dwell time and thus acquire, with no additional cost, a hyperspectral image at the same rate as that of a single channel detector, such as annular dark-field. To exemplify the possibilities behind event-based hyperspectral EELS, we have studied the decomposition of calcite (CaCO3) into calcium oxide (CaO) and carbon dioxide (CO2) under the electron beam irradiation.

Nano Lett ; 21(24): 10178-10185, 2021 Dec 22.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34878799


Structural, electronic, and chemical nanoscale modifications of transition metal dichalcogenide monolayers alter their optical properties. A key missing element for complete control is a direct spatial correlation of optical response to nanoscale modifications due to the large gap in spatial resolution between optical spectroscopy and nanometer-resolved techniques. Here, we bridge this gap by obtaining nanometer-resolved optical properties using electron spectroscopy at cryogenic temperatures, specifically electron energy loss spectroscopy for absorption and cathodoluminescence for emission, which are then directly correlated to chemical and structural information. In an h-BN/WS2/h-BN heterostructure, we observe local modulation of the trion (X-) emission due to tens of nanometer wide dielectric patches. Trion emission also increases in regions where charge accumulation occurs, close to the carbon film supporting the heterostructures. The localized exciton emission (L) detected here is not correlated to strain above 1%, suggesting point defects might be involved in their formation.

Nano Lett ; 20(5): 2973-2979, 2020 May 13.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31967839


Atomic vibrations and phonons are an excellent source of information on nanomaterials that we can access through a variety of methods including Raman scattering, infrared spectroscopy, and electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS). In the presence of a plasmon local field, vibrations are strongly modified and, in particular, their dipolar strengths are highly enhanced, thus rendering Raman scattering and infrared spectroscopy extremely sensitive techniques. Here, we experimentally demonstrate that the interaction between a relativistic electron and vibrational modes in nanostructures is fundamentally modified in the presence of plasmons. We finely tune the energy of surface plasmons in metallic nanowires in the vicinity of hexagonal boron nitride, making it possible to monitor and disentangle both strong phonon-plasmon coupling and plasmon-driven phonon enhancement at the nanometer scale. Because of the near-field character of the electron beam-phonon interaction, optically inactive phonon modes are also observed. Besides increasing our understanding of phonon physics, our results hold great potential for investigating sensing mechanisms and chemistry in complex nanomaterials down to the molecular level.