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Title: Sensing ultrashort electronic coherent beating at conical intersections by single-electron pulses
Consolidation of ultrafast optics in electron spectroscopies based on free electron energy exchange with matter has matured significantly over the past two decades, offering an attractive toolbox for the exploration of elementary events with unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution. Here, we propose a technique for monitoring electronic and nuclear molecular dynamics that is based on self-heterodyne coherent beating of a broadband pulse rather than incoherent population transport by a narrowband pulse. This exploits the strong exchange of coherence between the free electron and the sample. An optical pulse initiates matter dynamics, which is followed by inelastic scattering of a delayed high-energy broadband single-electron beam. The interacting and noninteracting beams then interfere to produce a heterodyne-detected signal, which reveals snapshots of the sample charge density by scanning a variable delay T . The spectral interference of the electron probe introduces high-contrast phase information, which makes it possible to record the electronic coherence in the sample. Quantum dynamical simulations of the ultrafast nonradiative conical intersection passage in uracil reveal a strong electronic beating signal imprinted onto the zero-loss peak of the electronic probe in a background-free manner.
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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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National Science Foundation
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