Carbon nanotube fiber terahertz polarizer
Tsentalovich, Dmitri E.
Young, Colin C.
Heimbeck, Martin S.
Everitt, Henry O.
Conventional, commercially available terahertz (THz) polarizers are made of uniformly and precisely spaced metallic wires. They are fragile and expensive, with performance characteristics highly reliant on wire diameters and spacings. Here, we report a simple and highly error-tolerant method for fabricating a freestanding THz polarizer with nearly ideal performance, reliant on the intrinsically one-dimensional character of conduction electrons in well-aligned carbon nanotubes(CNTs). The polarizer was constructed on a mechanical frame over which we manually wound acid-doped CNT fibers with ultrahigh electrical conductivity. We demonstrated that the polarizer has an extinction ratio of ∼−30 dB with a low insertion loss (<0.5 dB) throughout a frequency range of 0.2–1.1 THz. In addition, we used a THzellipsometer to measure the Müller matrix of the CNT-fiber polarizer and found comparable attenuation to a commercial metallic wire-grid polarizer. Furthermore, based on the classical theory of light transmission through an array of metallic wires, we demonstrated the most striking difference between the CNT-fiber and metallic wire-grid polarizers: the latter fails to work in the zero-spacing limit, where it acts as a simple mirror, while the former continues to work as an excellent polarizer even in that limit due to the one-dimensional conductivity of individual CNTs.