• Wave Chaos and Enhancement of Coherent Radiation with Rippled Electrodes in a Photoconductive Antenna

      Tao, R. (Rongjia); Riseborough, Peter; Wu, Dong Ho; Won, Chang-Hee, 1967- (Temple University. Libraries, 2016)
      Time-domain terahertz spectroscopy is now a well-established technique. Of the many methods available for a terahertz source for terahertz spectroscopy, the most widely used may be the GaAs-based photoconductive antenna, as it provides relatively high power at terahertz frequencies, commercially available up to 150 µW, and a wide-bandwidth, approximately 70 GHz to 3.5 THz. One of the limitations for developing more accurate and sensitive terahertz interrogation techniques is the lack of higher power sources. Because of our research interests in terahertz spectroscopy, we investigated detailed design and fabrication parameters involved in the photoconductive antenna, which exploits the surface plasma oscillation to produce a wideband pulse. The investigation enabled us to develop a new photoconductive antenna that is capable of generating a high power terahertz beam, at least twenty times stronger than those currently available. Throughout this research, it was discovered that antenna electrodes with particular geometries could produce superradiance, also known as the Dicke effect. Chaotic electrodes with a predisposition to lead charge-carriers into chaotic trajectories, e.g. rippled geometry, were exploited to reduce undesirable heat effects by driving thermal-electrons away from the terahertz generation site, i.e. the location of the surface plasma, while concentrating the removed charge-carriers in separate locations slightly away from the surface plasma. Then, spontaneous emission of coherent terahertz radiation may occur when the terahertz pulse generated by the surface plasma stimulates the concentrated carriers. This spontaneous emission enhanced the total coherent terahertz beam strength, as it occurs almost simultaneously with the primary terahertz beam. In principle, the spontaneous emission power increases as N^2, with the number N of dipole moments resulted from the concentrated charge carriers. Hence, if the design parameters are optimized, it may be possible to increase the strength of coherent terahertz beam by more than one order of magnitude with a photoconductive antenna containing rippled electrodes. However, as the parameters are yet to be optimized, we have only demonstrated 10-20 % enhancement with our current photoconductive antennas. Photoconductive antennas were fabricated via photolithography and characterized by time-domain terahertz spectroscopy and pyroelectric detection. In addition to chaotic electrodes, a variety of other parameters were characterized, including GaAs substrate thickness, GaAs crystal lattice orientation, trench depth for electrodes, metal-semiconductor contact, and bias voltage across electrodes. Nearly all parameters were found to play a crucial role influencing terahertz beam emission and carrier dynamics. By exploiting wave chaos and other antenna parameters, we developed a new photoconductive antenna capable of continuous operation with terahertz power twenty times larger than that of the conventional photoconductive antennas, improving from 150 µW to 3 mW. With further optimizations of the parameters, we expect more dramatic improvement of the photoconductive antenna in the near future.