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Title: A High-Power Broadband Terahertz Source Enabled by Three-Dimensional Light Confinement in a Plasmonic Nanocavity

The scope and potential uses of time-domain terahertz imaging and spectroscopy are mainly limited by the low optical-to-terahertz conversion efficiency of photoconductive terahertz sources. State-of-theart photoconductive sources utilize short-carrier-lifetime semiconductors to recombine carriers that cannot contribute to efficient terahertz generation and cause additional thermal dissipation. Here, we present a novel photoconductive terahertz source that offers a significantly higher efficiency compared with terahertz sources fabricated on short-carrier-lifetime substrates. The key innovative feature of this source is the tight three-dimensional confinement of the optical pump beam around the terahertz nanoantennas that are used as radiating elements. This is achieved by means of a nanocavity formed by plasmonic structures and a distributed Bragg reflector. Consequently, almost all of the photo-generated carriers can be routed to the terahertz nanoantennas within a sub-picosecond time-scale. This results in a very strong, ultrafast current that drives the nanoantennas to produce broadband terahertz radiation. We experimentally demonstrate that this terahertz source can generate 4 mW pulsed terahertz radiation under an optical pump power of 720 mW over the 0.1–4 THz frequency range. This is the highest reported power level for terahertz radiation from a photoconductive terahertz source, representing more than an order of magnitude of enhancement in themore » optical-to-terahertz conversion efficiency compared with state-of-the-art photoconductive terahertz sources fabricated on shortcarrier- lifetime substrates.« less
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  1. Univ. of California, Los Angeles, CA (United States). Electrical Engineering Department
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 7; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 2045-2322
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Univ. of California, Los Angeles, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
42 ENGINEERING; 77 NANOSCIENCE AND NANOTECHNOLOGY; Nanocavities; Nanophotonics and plasmonics
OSTI Identifier: