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Flying doughnut terahertz pulses generated from semiconductor currents
preprintposted on 2023-10-12, 16:01 authored by Kamalesh Jana, Yonghao Mi, Søren H. Møller, Dong Hyuk Ko, Shima Gholam-Mirzaei, Daryoush Abdollahpour, Shawn Sederberg, Paul B. Corkum
The ability to manipulate the space-time structure of light waves diversifies light-matter interaction and light-driven applications. Conventionally, metasurfaces are employed to locally control the amplitude and phase of light fields by the material response and structure of small meta-atoms. However, the fixed spatial structures of metasurfaces offer limited opportunities. Here, using quantum control we introduce a new approach that enables the amplitude, sign, and even configuration of the generated light fields to be manipulated in an all-optical manner. Following this approach, we demonstrate the generation of flying doughnut terahertz (THz) pulses. We show that the single-cycle THz pulse radiated from the dynamic semiconductor ring current has an electric field structure that is azimuthally polarized and that the space- and time-resolved magnetic field has a strong, isolated longitudinal component. As a first application, we detect absorption features from ambient water vapor on the spatiotemporal structure of the measured electric fields and the calculated magnetic fields. Quantum control is a powerful and flexible route to generating any structured light pulse in the THz range, while pulse compression of cylindrical vector beams is available for very high-power magnetic-pulse generation from the mid-infrared to near UV spectral region. Pulses such as these will serve as unique probes for spectroscopy, imaging, telecommunications, and magnetic materials.