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In quantum mechanics, each conserved quantity (e.g., energy, position, linear momentum and angular momentum) is associated with a Hermitian operator. Its expected value can then be determined by performing a measurement on the wavefunction. In modern electron microscopy, one can select the initial and final states of the electron and the measurement basis by performing measurements of scattering processes. For example, the orbital angular momentum (OAM) of an electron can be used to reveal the n-fold symmetry of a wavefunction scattered by a sample. Here, we introduce a new composite planar chirality operator that can be used to measure a spiral-like feature in a sample. This concept develops the concept of chirality to highlight a specific roto-scale symmetry. We show that planar chirality can be characterized using an electron OAM sorter to uncover the atomic structures of biomolecules in cryo electron microscopy, either in a stand-alone analysis for fast identification of protein structures or in the context of conventional cryo electron microscopy to produce faster and more detailed 3D reconstructions by solving upside-down orientation ambiguities.
Publication date: 
30 Sep 2021

AH Tavabi, P Rosi, RBG Ravelli, A Gijsbers, E Rotunno, T Guner, Y Zhang, A Rocaglia, L Belsito, G Pozzi, D Tibeau, G Gazzadi, M Ghosh, S Frabboni, PJ Peters, E Karimi, P Tiemeijer, RE Dunin-Borkowski, V Grillo

Biblio References: 
arXiv preprint arXiv:2110.03391