Orbital angular momentum in electron diffraction and its use to determine chiral crystal symmetries
Faculty of Sciences. Physics
Physical review: B: condensed matter and materials physics
Physical review : B : condensed matter and materials physics. - Lancaster, Pa, 1998 - 2015
, 11 p.
University of Antwerp
In this work we present an alternative way to look at electron diffraction in a transmission electron microscope. Instead of writing the scattering amplitude in Fourier space as a set of plane waves, we use the cylindrical Fourier transform to describe the scattering amplitude in a basis of orbital angular momentum (OAM) eigenstates. We show how working in this framework can be very convenient when investigating, e.g., rotation and screw-axis symmetries. For the latter we find selection rules on the OAM coefficients that unambiguously reveal the handedness of the screw axis. Detecting the OAM coefficients of the scattering amplitude thus offers the possibility to detect the handedness of crystals without the need for dynamical simulations, the thickness of the sample, nor the exact crystal structure. We propose an experimental setup to measure the OAM components where an image of the crystal is taken after inserting a spiral phase plate in the diffraction plane and perform multislice simulations on a quartz to demonstrate how the method indeed reveals the chirality. The experimental feasibility of the technique is discussed together with its main advantages with respect to chirality determination of screw axes. The method shows how the use of a spiral phase plate can be extended from a simple phase imaging technique to a tool to measure the local OAM decomposition of an electron wave, widening the field of interest well beyond chiral space group determination.