Optically Driven High Power Time Domain Terahertz Source

Period of Performance: 12/04/2008 - 12/04/2010


Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Picometrix LLC
2925 Boardwalk Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

University of Michigan
3003 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Institution POC


In phase II we will develop a prototype high power time domain terahertz (TD-THz) pulse source with a 1 milliwatt average output based on our Phase I approach. This source will be compatible with conventional time domain terahertz spectroscopy and imaging instrumentation, but extend the output power greater than a 1000 times the 1 microwatt typically generated by conventional systems. TD-THz sources produce hyper-wideband near single cycle sub-picosecond electromagnetic impulses spanning nearly 5 octaves of spectra from less than 100 GHz to greater than 3 THz. These pulses have unique properties that simultaneously enable frequency domain applications (such as explosives identification) and time domain applications (such as reflection tomography in aerospace non-destructive examination). We will implement a non-conventional optical rectification approach driven by a compact high power laser amplifier proven in Phase I to deliver greater 150 times the THz power in comparison to current off-the shelf THz transmitter modules. This method will scale to 1 milliwatt power output in Phase II. The Phase II prototype is compatible with Picometrixs existing photoconductive receivers and TD-THz spectroscopy and imaging instrumentation. BENEFIT: A successful Phase II development project will result in a 1 milliwatt average output power expansion subsystem, which will immediately benefit deployed TD-THz application and customers, as well as enabling those applications which require higher power. While the conventional lower power time domain systems have demonstrated many applications, higher power will enable applications require greater range, material penetration, imaging area, dynamic range, and speed. Examples include in-the wall imaging; time reversal and synthetic aperture imaging; and personnel and luggage inspection for weapons and explosives.