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Microstructured large-area photoconductive terahertz emitters driven at high average power

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posted on 2024-02-23, 17:00 authored by Mohsen Khalili, Tim Vogel, Yicheng Wang, Samira Mansourzadeh, Abhishek Singh, Stephan Winnnerl, Clara J. Saraceno
Emitters based on photoconductive materials excited by ultrafast lasers are well established and popular devices for THz generation. However, so far, these emitters, both photoconductive antennas and large area emitters, were mostly explored using driving lasers with moderate average powers (either fiber lasers with up to hundreds of milliwatts or Ti:Sapphire systems up to few watts). In this paper, we explore the use of high power, MHz repetition rate Ytterbium (Yb) based oscillator for THz emission using a microstructured large area photoconductive emitter, consist of semi insulating GaAs with a 10 by 10 mm2 active area. As a driving source, we use a frequency doubled home built high average power ultrafast Yb oscillator, delivering 22 W of average power, 115 fs pulses with 91 MHz repetition rate at a central wavelength of 516 nm. When applying 9 W of average power (after an optical chopper with a duty cycle of 50 percent) on the structure without optimized heatsinking, we obtain 65 uW THz average power, 4 THz bandwidth; furthermore, we safely apply up to 18 W of power on the structure without observing damage. We investigate the impact of excitation power, bias voltage, optical fluence, and their interplay on the emitter performance and explore in detail the sources of thermal load originating from electrical and optical power. Optical power is found to have a more critical impact on LAE saturation than electrical power, thus optimized heatsinking will allow us to improve the conversion efficiency in the near future towards much higher emitter power. This work paves the way towards achieving hundreds of MHz or even GHz repetition rates, high power THz sources based on photoconductive emitters, that are of great interest for example for future THz imaging applications.

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