Compact and tunable semiconductor terahertz sources providing direct electrical control, efficient operation at room temperatures and device integration opportunities are of great interest at the present time. One of the most well-established techniques for terahertz generation utilises photoconductive antennas driven by ultrafast pulsed or dual wavelength continuous wave laser systems, though some limitations, such as confined optical wavelength pumping range and thermal breakdown, still exist. The use of quantum dot-based semiconductor materials, having unique carrier dynamics and material properties, can help to overcome limitations and enable efficient optical-to-terahertz signal conversion at room temperatures. Here we discuss the construction of novel and versatile terahertz transceiver systems based on quantum dot semiconductor devices. Configurable, energy-dependent optical and electronic characteristics of quantum-dot-based semiconductors are described, and the resonant response to optical pump wavelength is revealed. Terahertz signal generation and detection at energies that resonantly excite only the implanted quantum dots opens the potential for using compact quantum dot-based semiconductor lasers as pump sources. Proof-of-concept experiments are demonstrated here that show quantum dot-based samples to have higher optical pump damage thresholds and reduced carrier lifetime with increasing pump power.
Bibliographical note© 2016 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Funding: EPSRC. Grant Numbers: EP/H015795/1, FP7 IAPP TERA project No 285974
- photoconductive antenna
- quantum dots