Date: 11 May 2005

Generation of CW Terahertz Radiation with Photomixing

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Abstract

The generation of continuous-wave (CW) terahertz radiation by the photomixing (optical heterodyne downconversion) with the ultrafast optoelectronic devices is reviewed. The principle, design, and characteristics of conventional photomixers made of low-temperature-grown GaAs are introduced. Current limits on the terahertz output power for the conventional design of the photomixer are stated, and the recent designs to increase the terahertz output power are described in detail, showing experimental results. In addition to the output power, the performance of the photomixer is discussed in terms of the optical-to-terahertz conversion efficiency and the noise of the terahertz output. To explain the importance of the CW terahertz source, some examples of the terahertz systems for spectroscopic applications are shown. Finally, future trends of the design and application of the CW terahertz source are discussed.