Novel devices and systems for terahertz spectroscopy and imaging
Mittleman, Daniel M.
Doctor of Philosophy
This doctoral thesis documents my research on novel devices and systems for terahertz (THz) spectroscopy and imaging. The research is particularly focused on the manipulation of THz radiation, including subwavelength concentration and low-loss wave guiding. One of the major obstacles for THz imaging is the poor spatial resolution due to the diffraction of the long-wavelength light source. To break this restriction, we build a THz near-field microscopy system by combining apertureless near-field scanning optical microscopy (ANSOM) with terahertz time-domain spectroscopy (THz-TDS). The experimental result indicates a sub-wavelength spatial resolution of about 10 micron. Abnormal frequency response of the ANSOM probe tip is observed, and a dipole antenna model is developed to explain the bandwidth reduction of the detected THz pulses. We also observe and characterize the THz wave propagation on the near-field probe in ANSOM. These studies not only demonstrate the feasibility of ANSOM in the THz frequency range, but also provide fundamental insights into the near-field microscopy in general, such as the broadband compatibility, the propagation effects and the antenna effects. Motivated by our study of the propagation effects in THz ANSOM, we characterize the guided mode of THz pulses on a bare metal wire by directly measuring the spatial profile of electric field of the mode, and find that the wire structure can be used to guide THz waves with outstanding performance. This new broadband THz waveguide exhibits very small dispersion, extremely low attenuation and remarkable structural simplicity. These features make it especially suitable for use in THz sensing and imaging systems. The first THz endoscope is demonstrated based on metal wire waveguides. To improve the input coupling efficiency of such waveguides, we develop a photoconductive antenna with radial symmetry which can generate radially polarized THz radiation matching the waveguide mode. Through THz-TDS measurements and theoretical calculations, we study the dispersion relation of the surface waves on metal wires, which indicates the increasing importance of skin effects for surface waves in the THz frequency range.
Electronics; Electrical engineering; Physics; Electromagnetics; Optics