A high-brightness pulsed electron source, which has the potential for many useful applications in electron microscopy, inverse photo-emission, low energy electron scattering experiments, and electron holography has been described. The source makes use of Cs atoms in an atomic beam. The source is cycled beginning with a laser pulse that excites a single Cs atom on average to a band of high-lying Rydberg nP states. The resulting valence electron Rydberg wave packet evolves in a nearly classical Kepler orbit. When the electron reaches apogee, an electric field pulse is applied that ionizes the atom and accelerates the electron away from its parent ion. The collection of electron wave packets thus generated in a series of cycles can occupy a phase volume near the quantum limit and it can possess very high brightness. Each wave packet can exhibit a considerable degree of coherence.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENTAL SUPPORT
The invention described and claimed herein was made in part utilizing funds supplied by the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC03-76SF00098, and more recently under DE-AC02-05CH11231. The government has certain rights in this invention.