Electron Vortex Beams with High Quanta of Orbital Angular Momentum

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Science  14 Jan 2011:
Vol. 331, Issue 6014, pp. 192-195
DOI: 10.1126/science.1198804

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Electron beams with helical wavefronts carrying orbital angular momentum are expected to provide new capabilities for electron microscopy and other applications. We used nanofabricated diffraction holograms in an electron microscope to produce multiple electron vortex beams with well-defined topological charge. Beams carrying quantized amounts of orbital angular momentum (up to 100ℏ) per electron were observed. We describe how the electrons can exhibit such orbital motion in free space in the absence of any confining potential or external field, and discuss how these beams can be applied to improved electron microscopy of magnetic and biological specimens.

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