Photoconductive antennas are promising sources of terahertz radiation that is widely used for spectroscopy, characterization, and imaging of biological objects, deep space studies, scanning of surfaces, and detection of potentially hazardous substances. These antennas are compact and allow for generation of both ultrabroadband pulses and tunable continuous wave terahertz signals at room temperatures, with no need for high-power optical sources. However, such antennas have relatively low energy conversion efficiency of femtosecond laser pulses or two close pump wavelengths (photomixers) into the pulsed and continuous terahertz radiation, correspondingly. Recently, an approach to solving this problem that involves known methods of nanophotonics applied to terahertz photoconductive antennas and photomixers has been proposed. This approach comprises the use of optical nanoantennas for enhancing the absorption of pump laser radiation in the antenna gap, reducing the lifetime of photoexcited carriers, and improving the antenna thermal efficiency. This Review is intended to systematize the main results obtained by researchers in this promising field of hybrid optical-to-terahertz photoconductive antennas and photomixers. We summarize the main results on hybrid THz antennas, compare the approaches to their implementation, and offer further perspectives of their development including an application of all-dielectric nanoantennas instead of plasmonic ones.
Bibliographical noteThis is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Lepeshov, S., Gorodetsky, A., Krasnok, A., Rafailov, E., & Belov, P. (2017). Enhancement of terahertz photoconductive antenna operation by optical nanoantennas. Laser and Photonics Reviews, 11(1), , which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/lpor.201600199. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
- photoconductive antenna
- plasmonic structures