For the first time, #smartelectron scientists have experimentally demonstrated how modulating a photon beam can be used to achieve arbitrary spatiotemporal shaping of an electron beam. A spatial light modulator, similar in principle to the ones used in cinema projectors, is used to impart the desired phase and amplitude to the light. The properties of the light are then transferred to the electrons thanks to quantum interaction between them in the vicinity of a metal plate. The power of the method with respect to previous attempts is the possibility to imprint a completely arbitrary and versatile modulation to the electron profile. New, promising applications of this approach await – in electron microscopy, optoelectronics, quantum information, and biosensing.

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