Impact of the Metal Adhesion Layer on the Radiation Power of Plasmonic Photoconductive Terahertz Sources

  • Deniz Turan
  • Sofia Carolina Corzo-Garcia
  • Nezih Tolga Yardimci
  • Enrique Castro-Camus
  • Mona JarrahiEmail author


The use of plasmonic contact electrodes in a photoconductive terahertz source offers high optical-to-terahertz conversion efficiencies. The high efficiency is because plasmonic contact electrodes concentrate a large portion of the incident optical pump beam in close proximity to the contact electrodes. By reducing the average transport path length of the photo-generated carriers from the contact electrodes, a larger number of the photocarriers drift to the terahertz radiating elements of the photoconductive source within a sub-picosecond time scale. Therefore, higher terahertz radiation power levels are achieved compared to a similar photoconductive source without plasmonic contact electrodes. Au is a preferred metal for plasmonic contact electrodes because of the strong plasmonic enhancement factors it offers at near-infrared optical wavelengths. However, it requires an adhesion layer to stick well to most III–V semiconductor substrates used in photoconductive terahertz sources. In this paper, we analyze the impact of the Au adhesion layer on the performance of plasmonic photoconductive sources fabricated on a GaAs substrate. Our analysis suggests that Cr is the most promising adhesion layer for plasmonic contact electrodes. We show that the use of a Cr adhesion layer instead of Ti, which is used in previously demonstrated plasmonic photoconductive sources, offers up to an 80% enhancement in the generated terahertz powers. We report record-high terahertz power emissions of up to 6.7 mW from plasmonic photoconductive sources with Cr/Au contacts.


Photoconductors Terahertz source Plasmonics 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support from the Department of Energy (grant no. DE-SC0016925) and Moore Inventor Fellowship.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Deniz Turan
    • 1
  • Sofia Carolina Corzo-Garcia
    • 2
  • Nezih Tolga Yardimci
    • 1
  • Enrique Castro-Camus
    • 2
  • Mona Jarrahi
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Electrical Engineering DepartmentUniversity of California Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Centro de Investigaciones en ÓpticaLeónMexico

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