Plasmonic Field Effect Transistor detectors (first proposed in 1996) have emerged as superior room temperature terahertz (THz) detectors. Recent theoretical and experimental results showed that such detectors are capable of subpicosecond resolution. Their sensitivity can be greatly enhanced by applying the DC drain-to-source current that increases the responsivity due to the enhanced non-linearity of the device but also adds 1/f noise. We now propose, and demonstrate a dramatic responsivity enhancement of these plasmonic THz pulse detectors by applying a femtosecond optical laser pulse superimposed on the THz pulse. The proposed physical mechanism links the enhanced detection to the superposition of the THz pulse field and the rectified optical field. A femtosecond pulse generates a large concentration of the electron-hole pairs shorting the drain and source contacts and, therefore, determining the moment of time when the THz induced charge starts discharging into the transmission line connecting the FET to an oscilloscope. This allows for scanning the THz pulse with the strongly enhanced sensitivity and/or for scanning the response waveform after the THz pulse is over. The experimental results obtained using AlGaAs/InGaAs deep submicron HEMTs are in good agreement with this mechanism. This new technique could find numerous imaging, sensing, and quality control applications.
M. Shur, S. Rudin, G. Rupper, and A. Muraviev, "Novel ultrasensitive plasmonic detector of terahertz pulses enhanced by femtosecond optical pulses," Proc. SPIE 9934, Terahertz Emitters, Receivers, and Applications VII, 99340G (Presented at SPIE Nanoscience + Engineering: August 28, 2016; Published: 26 September 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2238067.
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