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Ultrafast terahertz detectors

Zhang Zhen-Zhen Li Hua Cao Jun-Cheng

Ultrafast terahertz detectors

Zhang Zhen-Zhen, Li Hua, Cao Jun-Cheng
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  • Terahertz (THz) technologies have broad application prospects in ultrafast space communication, heterodyne detection, biological detection, non-destructive testing and national security. Ultrafast THz detectors, which can respond to the THz light with modulation rate larger than 1 GHz, are the key component of fast imaging, space communication, ultrafast spectroscopy and THz heterodyne applications. Theoretically, the traditional THz detectors based on heat effects are difficult to meet the requirements for fast detections, while the semiconductor based THz detectors can work under the condition of ultrafast detection. Photoconductive antennas with ultrafast response time are suitable for room-temperature broad-spectrum THz detections. Schottky barrier diodes, superconductor-insulator-superconductor mixers and hot electron bolometers are promising candidates for high-speed THz spatial heterodyne and direct detections attributable to their high conversion efficiency and low noise. High-mobility field effect transistors based on two-dimensional graphene material have the advantages of high sensitivity and low impedance, which make this kind of device have great potential applications in room-temperature high-speed detections. THz quantum well detectors (THz QWPs) based on inter-subband transitions are very suitable for the applications in high-frequency and high-speed detections because of the advantages of high responsivity, small value and integrated packaging. Recently, we have demonstrated 6.2 GHz bandwidth modulation by using THz QWPs, the fast THz receiving device. On the other hand, low working temperature and low coupling efficiency are the main factors that restrict the applications of THz QWPs. From the Brewster angle, 45 polished facet coupling structure, to one-or two-dimensional metal grating and surface Plasmon polariton coupling configuration, researchers often explore the appropriate coupling mechanism which can not only couple the normal incidence THz light, but also improve the coupling efficiency substantially. The sub-wavelength double-metal micro-cavity array coupling structure has two advantages which make THz QWPs a key candidate for fast imaging and detection in THz band:firstly, the patch antennas on the device surface can effectively increase the light absorption region, and the periodic structure can make the normal incidence THz light fulfill the rule of intersubband transition. Secondly, the sub-wavelength size double metal structure can restrict the light within a very small volume, and the electric current will be enhanced by the resonance effect when the cavity mode is equal to the peak response frequency, which can suppress the dark current and improve the optical coupling efficiency of the device. In this paper, several ultrafast THz detectors are reviewed and the advantages and disadvantages of various detectors are also analyzed.
      Corresponding author: Li Hua, hua.li@mail.sim.ac.cn;jccao@mail.sim.ac.cn ; Cao Jun-Cheng, hua.li@mail.sim.ac.cn;jccao@mail.sim.ac.cn
    • Funds: Project supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (Grant No. 2014CB339803), the National Key RD Program of China (Grant No. 2017YFF0106302), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 61575214, 61405233, 61404150), and the Hundred Talents Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences.
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  • [1]

    Ferguson B, Zhang X C 2002 Nat. Mater. 1 26

    [2]

    Cao J C 2012 Semiconductor Terahertz Sources, Detectors and Applications (Beijing: Science Press) pp1-7 (in Chinese) [曹俊诚 2012 半导体太赫兹源、探测器与应用(北京: 科学出版社)第17页]

    [3]

    Federici J F, Schulkin B, Huang F, Gary D, Barat R, Oliveira F, Zimdars D 2005 Semicond. Sci. Technol. 20 S266

    [4]

    Zheng X, Wu Z M, Gou J, Liu Z J, Wang J, Zheng J, Luo Z F, Chen W Q, Que L C, Jiang Y D 2016 J. Infrared Millim. Terahertz Waves 37 965

    [5]

    Yen T J, Padilla W J, Fang N, Vier D C, Smith D R, Pendry J B, Basov D N, Zhang X 2004 Science 303 1494

    [6]

    Padilla W J, Taylor A J, Highstrete C, Lee M, Averitt R D 2006 Phys. Rev. Lett. 96 107401

    [7]

    Azad A K, Dai J M, Zhang W L 2006 Opt. Lett. 31 634

    [8]

    Chen H T, Padilla W J, Zide J M O, Gossard A C, Taylor A J, Averitt R D 2006 Nature 444 597

    [9]

    Gol'tsman G N 1999 Infrared Phys. Technol. 40 199

    [10]

    Qin H, Huang Y D, Sun J D, Zhang Z P, Yu Y, Li X, Sun Y F 2017 Chin. Opt. 10 51 (in Chinese) [秦华, 黄永丹, 孙建东, 张志鹏, 余耀, 李想, 孙云飞 2017 中国光学 10 51]

    [11]

    Vicarelli L, Vitiello M S, Coquillat D, Lombardo A, Ferrari A C, Knap W, Polini M, Pellegrini V, Tredicucci A 2012 Nat. Mater. 11 865

    [12]

    Sun J D, Qin H, Lwis R A, Sun Y F, Zhang X Y, Cai Y, Wu D M, Zhang B S 2012 Appl. Phys. Lett. 100 173513

    [13]

    Liu H C, Song C Y, SpringThorpe A J, Cao J C 2004 Appl. Phys. Lett. 84 4068

    [14]

    Liu H C, Luo H, Song C Y, Wasilewski Z R, SpringThorpe A J, Cao J C 2008 IEEE J. Sel. Top. Quantum Electron. 14 374

    [15]

    Guo X G, Cao J C, Zhang R, Tan Z Y, Liu H C 2013 IEEE J. Sel. Top. Quantum Electron. 19 8500508

    [16]

    Zhang R, Guo X G, Cao J C, Liu H C 2011 J. Appl. Phys. 109 073110

    [17]

    Guo X G, Zhang R, Cao J C, Liu H C 2012 IEEE J. Quantum Electron. 48 1113

    [18]

    Schneider H, Liu H C 2006 Quantum Well Infrared Photodetectors: Physics and Applications (Berlin: Spinger) pp67-69

    [19]

    Wu W, Bonakdar A, Mohseni H 2010 Appl. Phys. Lett. 96 161107

    [20]

    Liu H C, Capasso F 2000 Intersubband Transition in Quantum Wells: Physics and Device Applications I (San Diego: Academic Press)

    [21]

    Auston D H 1975 Appl. Phys. Lett. 26 101

    [22]

    Lefur P, Auston D H 1976 Appl. Phys. Lett. 28 21

    [23]

    Valdmanis J A, Mourou G, Gabel C W 1982 Appl. Phys. Lett. 41 211

    [24]

    Jepsen P U, Jacobsen R H, Keiding S R 1996 J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 13 2424

    [25]

    Shi W, Hou L, Wang X M 2011 J. Appl. Phys. 110 023111

    [26]

    Chen S G, Shi W, Hou L, Lwis R A 2017 IEEE J. Sel. Top. Quantum Electron. 23 8400406

    [27]

    Tani M, Hirota Y, Que C T, Tanaka S, Hattori R, Yamaguchi M, Nishizawa S, Hangyo M 2006 Int. J. Infrared Millim. Waves 27 531

    [28]

    Grischkowsky D, Keiding S, Vanexter M, Fattinger C 1990 J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 7 2006

    [29]

    Hu B B, Nuss M C 1995 Opt. Lett. 20 1716

    [30]

    Beard M C, Turner G M, Schmuttenmaer C A 2002 J. Phys. Chem. B 106 7146

    [31]

    Xu L, Zhang X C, Auston D H 1992 Appl. Phys. Lett. 61 1784

    [32]

    Hu Y, Huang P, Guo L T, Wang X H, Zhang C L 2006 Phys. Lett. A 359 728

    [33]

    Hubers H W 2008 IEEE J. Sel. Top. Quantum Electron. 14 378

    [34]

    Rogalski A, Sizov F 2011 Opto-Electron. Rev. 19 346

    [35]

    McIntosh K A, Brown E R, Nichols K B, McMahon O B, DiNatale W F, Lyszczarz T M 1995 Appl. Phys. Lett. 67 3844

    [36]

    Peytavit E, Coinon C, Lampin J F 2011 J. Appl. Phys. 109 016101

    [37]

    Peytavit E, Lampin J F, Hindle F, Yang C, Mouret G 2009 Appl. Phys. Lett. 95 161102

    [38]

    Englert C R, Schimpf B, Birk M, Schreier F, Krocka M, Nitsche R G, Titz R U, Summers M E 2000 J. Geophys. Res. Atmos. 105 22211

    [39]

    Pickett H M 2006 IEEE Trans. Geosci. Remote Sensing 44 1122

    [40]

    Gulkis S, Allen M, Backus C, Beaudin G, Biver N, Bockelee-Morvan D, Crovisier J, Despois D, Encrenaz P, Frerking M, Hofstadter M, Hartogh P, Ip W, Janssen M, Kamp L, Koch T, Lellouch E, Mann I, Muhleman D, Rauer H, Schloerb P, Spilker T 2007 Planet Space Sci. 55 1050

    [41]

    Siegel P H, Dengler R J 2006 Int. J. Infrared Millim. Waves 27 465

    [42]

    Crowe T W, Mattauch R J, Roser H P, Bishop W L, Peatman W C B, Liu X L 1992 Proc. IEEE 80 1827

    [43]

    Zmuidzinas J, Richards P L 2004 Proc. IEEE 92 1597

    [44]

    Bozhkov V G 2003 Radiophys. Quant. Electron. 46 631

    [45]

    Champlin K S, Eisenstein G 1978 IEEE Trans. Microw. Theory 26 31

    [46]

    Hubers H W, Schwaab G W, Roser H P 1994 J. Appl. Phys. 75 4243

    [47]

    Crowe T W, Porterfield D W, Hesler J L, Bishop W L, Kurtz D S, Hui K (Hwu R J, Woolard D L Rosker M J ed.) 2005 Terahertz for Military and Security Applications Ⅲ (Vol. 5790) (Bellingham: Spie-Int Soc Optical Engineering) pp271-280

    [48]

    Young D T, Irvin J C 1965 Proc. IEEE 53 2130

    [49]

    Ishi T, Fujikata J, Makita K, Baba T, Ohashi K 2005 Jpn. J. Appl. Phys. 44 L364

    [50]

    Tien P K, Gordon J P 1963 Phys. Rev. 129 647

    [51]

    Uzawa Y, Wang Z, Kawakami A 1998 Appl. Phys. Lett. 73 680

    [52]

    Karpov A, Miller D, Rice F, Stern J A, Bumble B, Leduc H G, Zmuidzinas J 2007 IEEE Trans. Appl. Supercon. 17 343

    [53]

    Gaidis M C, Leduc H G, Mei B, Miller D 1996 IEEE Trans. Microwave Theory Tech. 44 1130

    [54]

    Kawamura J, Miller D, Chen J, Zmuidzinas J, Bumble B, Leduc H G, Stern J A 2000 Appl. Phys. Lett. 76 2119

    [55]

    Phillips T G, Jefferts K B 1973 Rev Sci. Instrum. 44 1009

    [56]

    Ren Y A, Miao W, Yao Q J, Zhang W, Shi S C 2011 Chin. Phys. Lett. 28 010702

    [57]

    Richards P L 1994 J. Appl. Phys. 76 1

    [58]

    Qin H, Sun J D, Liang S X, Li X, Yang X X, He Z H, Yu C, Feng Z H 2017 Carbon 116 760

    [59]

    Qin H, Sun J D, He Z Z, Li X X, Li X, Liang S X, Yu C, Feng Z H, Tu X C, Jin B B, Chen J, Wu P H 2017 Carbon 121 235

    [60]

    Cao J C 2006 Physics 35 953 (in Chinese) [曹俊诚 2006 物理 35 953]

    [61]

    Zhang S, Wang T M, Hao M R, Yang Y, Zhang Y H, Shen W Z, Liu H C 2013 J. Appl. Phys. 114 194507

    [62]

    Guo X G, Tan Z Y, Cao J C, Liu H C 2009 Appl. Phys. Lett. 94 201101

    [63]

    Gu L L, Guo X G, Fu Z L, Wan W J, Zhang R, Tan Z Y, Cao J C 2015 Appl. Phys. Lett. 106 111107

    [64]

    Ferre S, Razavipour S G, Ban D Y 2013 Appl. Phys. Lett. 103 081105

    [65]

    Gomez A, Berger V, Pere-Laperne N, de Vaulchier L A 2008 Appl. Phys. Lett. 92 202110

    [66]

    Delga A, Doyennette L, Buffaz A, Berger V, Jasnot F R, de Vaulchier L A, Pere-Laperne N, Liu H C 2011 J. Appl. Phys. 110 013714

    [67]

    Guo X G, Zhang R, Liu H C, SpringThorpe A J, Cao J C 2010 Appl. Phys. Lett. 97 021114

    [68]

    Kippenberg T J, Vahala K J 2007 Opt. Express 15 17172

    [69]

    Benz A, Krall M, Schwarz S, Dietze D, Detz H, Andrews A M, Schrenk W, Strasser G, Unterrainer K 2014 Sci. Rep. 4 4269

    [70]

    Giannini V, Berrier A, Maier S A, Sanchez-Gil J A, Rivas J G 2010 Opt. Express 18 2797

    [71]

    Harrer A, Schwarz B, Gansch R, Reininger P, Detz H, Zederbauer T, Andrews A M, Schrenk W, Strasser G 2014 Appl. Phys. Lett. 105 171112

    [72]

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  • Received Date:  30 January 2018
  • Accepted Date:  07 March 2018
  • Published Online:  05 May 2018

Ultrafast terahertz detectors

Fund Project:  Project supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (Grant No. 2014CB339803), the National Key RD Program of China (Grant No. 2017YFF0106302), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 61575214, 61405233, 61404150), and the Hundred Talents Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Abstract: Terahertz (THz) technologies have broad application prospects in ultrafast space communication, heterodyne detection, biological detection, non-destructive testing and national security. Ultrafast THz detectors, which can respond to the THz light with modulation rate larger than 1 GHz, are the key component of fast imaging, space communication, ultrafast spectroscopy and THz heterodyne applications. Theoretically, the traditional THz detectors based on heat effects are difficult to meet the requirements for fast detections, while the semiconductor based THz detectors can work under the condition of ultrafast detection. Photoconductive antennas with ultrafast response time are suitable for room-temperature broad-spectrum THz detections. Schottky barrier diodes, superconductor-insulator-superconductor mixers and hot electron bolometers are promising candidates for high-speed THz spatial heterodyne and direct detections attributable to their high conversion efficiency and low noise. High-mobility field effect transistors based on two-dimensional graphene material have the advantages of high sensitivity and low impedance, which make this kind of device have great potential applications in room-temperature high-speed detections. THz quantum well detectors (THz QWPs) based on inter-subband transitions are very suitable for the applications in high-frequency and high-speed detections because of the advantages of high responsivity, small value and integrated packaging. Recently, we have demonstrated 6.2 GHz bandwidth modulation by using THz QWPs, the fast THz receiving device. On the other hand, low working temperature and low coupling efficiency are the main factors that restrict the applications of THz QWPs. From the Brewster angle, 45 polished facet coupling structure, to one-or two-dimensional metal grating and surface Plasmon polariton coupling configuration, researchers often explore the appropriate coupling mechanism which can not only couple the normal incidence THz light, but also improve the coupling efficiency substantially. The sub-wavelength double-metal micro-cavity array coupling structure has two advantages which make THz QWPs a key candidate for fast imaging and detection in THz band:firstly, the patch antennas on the device surface can effectively increase the light absorption region, and the periodic structure can make the normal incidence THz light fulfill the rule of intersubband transition. Secondly, the sub-wavelength size double metal structure can restrict the light within a very small volume, and the electric current will be enhanced by the resonance effect when the cavity mode is equal to the peak response frequency, which can suppress the dark current and improve the optical coupling efficiency of the device. In this paper, several ultrafast THz detectors are reviewed and the advantages and disadvantages of various detectors are also analyzed.

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