Optical Science and Engineering ETDs


Chia-Yeh Li

Publication Date



This dissertation centers on broadband terahertz spectroscopy and is arranged in four main sections. In the first section, we describe terahertz generation from a two-color laser air breakdown plasma. This is modeled with a plasma current that includes plasma density and dispersion in propagation. The terahertz spatial profile has a ring-like structure with a frequency dependent radius. Parameters for optimal terahertz generation are also presented. The next two sections discuss broadband terahertz detection techniques: optically biased coherent detection and electro-absorption in a semiconductor. The subject of the fourth section is terahertz imaging with electroabsorption. Optically biased coherent detection is distinguished from air-breakdown coherent detection by replacing the electrical bias for an optical field. The importance of phase control in this technique is demonstrated. In addition, we found the terahertz-induced second harmonic to be spectrally delay-dependent. This is due to the phase matching condition and is discussed in detail. Terahertz-induced electro-absorption is performed in GaAs/AlGaAs multiple double quantum wells and an AlGaAs bulk semiconductor. To the best of the author's knowledge, this is the first demonstration of large modulation induced by a single cycle terahertz pulse in such structures. The underlying mechanism is identified as the Franz-Keldysh effect that has been successfully modeled in both the temporal and spectral regimes. Terahertz imaging of the plasma profile is accomplished with electro-absorption in these structures. The observed ring pattern is reproduced with the model described in the first section of this dissertation. Terahertz raster scan imaging of a large object is also presented.

Degree Name

Optical Science and Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Optical Science and Engineering

First Advisor

Shiek-Bahae, Mansoor

First Committee Member (Chair)

Malloy, Kevin

Second Committee Member

Hayat, Majeed

Third Committee Member

Jeffrey, Cederberg

Document Type