Manuscript on optical gating and streaking of electrons at sub-optical-cycle time scales published in Nature Communications
Optical near-fields have recently been employed for both electron acceleration in so-called dielectric laser accelerators (DLAs) and in energy-resolved electron microscopy imaging techniques (e.g. photon-induced near-field electron microscopy, short PINEM). In our paper we demonstrate sub-optical-cycle temporal resolution which can be achieved in these experiments due to the linear dependence of the final electron energy and/or transverse momentum on the amplitude of the fast oscillating field. Thus by creating two regions in which the electron beam interacts with phase-controlled near-fields, the phase-dependent electron current serves as a direct visualization of the sub-cycle energy structure imprinted on the electron beam. This effect can be applied to temporally gate the electrons in various ultrafast electron diffraction and microscopy experiments as well as to optically driven streak cameras for characterization of ultrashort electron bunches with attosecond (10-18 s) temporal resolution. The manuscript containing the proof-of-concept experiment has just been accepted for publication in Nature Communications.