A key requirement to put terahertz (THz) imaging systems into applications is high resolution. Based on a self-developed THz quantum cascade laser (QCL), we demonstrate a THz inline digital holography imaging system with high lateral resolution. In our case, the lateral resolution of this holography imaging system is pushed to about 70 μm, which is close to the intrinsic resolution limit of this system. To the best of our knowledge, this is much smaller than what has been reported up to now. This is attributed to a series of improvements, such as shortening the QCL wavelength, increasing Nx and Ny by the synthetic aperture method, smoothing the source beam profile, and diminishing vibration due to the cryorefrigeration device. This kind of holography system with a resolution smaller than 100 μm opens the door for many imaging experiments. It will turn the THz imaging systems into applications.
We report on a method to enhance the temporal contrast of optical parametric chirped-pulse amplifiers (OPCPAs) by smoothing pump noise. The instantaneous parametric gain in OPCPA couples the temporal modulation on the pump pulses to spectral variations of the intensity of the stretched signal pulses being amplified. In this way, pump noise significantly degrades the temporal contrast of the amplified pulses after recompression. Cascaded second harmonic generation (SHG) is adopted to smooth modulation on the pump pulses in the proposed method. Apparent reduction of modulation on the pump pulses is observed in the experiments. Numerical simulation reproduces the experimental results. Simulation results show that cascaded SHG with stable output 2 ω can enhance the temporal contrast for OPCPAs with four to five orders. It is believed that this new method can be widely adopted to build high-contrast OPCPA systems.