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Three-dimensional cross-nanowire networks recover full terahertz state

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Science  01 May 2020:
Vol. 368, Issue 6490, pp. 510-513
DOI: 10.1126/science.abb0924

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Nanowire-based THz detection

Terahertz (THz) radiation is an interesting region of the electromagnetic spectrum lying between microwaves and infrared. Non-ionizing and transparent to most fabrics, it is finding application in security screening and imaging but is also being developed for communication and chemical sensing. To date, most THz detectors have focused just on signal intensity, an effort that discards half the signal in terms of the full optical state, including polarization. Peng et al. developed a THz detector based on crossed nanowires (arranged in a hash structure) that is capable of resolving the full state of the THz light. The approach provides a nanophotonic platform for the further development of THz-based technologies.

Science, this issue p. 510

Abstract

Terahertz radiation encompasses a wide band of the electromagnetic spectrum, spanning from microwaves to infrared light, and is a particularly powerful tool for both fundamental scientific research and applications such as security screening, communications, quality control, and medical imaging. Considerable information can be conveyed by the full polarization state of terahertz light, yet to date, most time-domain terahertz detectors are sensitive to just one polarization component. Here we demonstrate a nanotechnology-based semiconductor detector using cross-nanowire networks that records the full polarization state of terahertz pulses. The monolithic device allows simultaneous measurements of the orthogonal components of the terahertz electric field vector without cross-talk. Furthermore, we demonstrate the capabilities of the detector for the study of metamaterials.

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