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Journal Articles Optica Year : 2017

Ultrafast terahertz detectors based on three-dimensional meta-atoms


Terahertz (THz) and sub-THz frequency emitter and detector technologies are receiving increasing attention, underpinned by emerging applications in ultra-fast THz physics, frequency-combs technology and pulsed laser development in this relatively unexplored region of the electromagnetic spectrum. In particular, semiconductor-based ultrafast THz receivers are required for compact, ultrafast spectroscopy and communication systems, and to date, quantum-well infrared photodetectors (QWIPs) have proved to be an excellent technology to address this, given their intrinsic picosecond-range response. However, with research focused on diffraction-limited QWIP structures (λ∕2), RC constants cannot be reduced indefinitely, and detection speeds are bound to eventually meet an upper limit. The key to an ultra-fast response with no intrinsic upper limit even at tens of gigahertz (GHz) is an aggressive reduction in device size, below the diffraction limit. Here we demonstrate sub-wavelength (λ∕10) THz QWIP detectors based on a 3D split-ring geometry, yielding ultra-fast operation at a wavelength of around 100 μm. Each sensing meta-atom pixel features a suspended loop antenna that feeds THz radiation in the ∼20 μm 3 active volume (V eff ∼3 × 10 −4 λ∕2 3). Arrays of detectors as well as single-pixel detectors have been implemented with this new architecture, with the latter exhibiting ultra-low dark currents below the nA level. This extremely small resonator architecture leads to measured optical response speeds-on arrays of 300 devices-of up to ∼3 GHz and an expected device operation of up to tens of GHz, based on the measured S parameters on single devices and arrays.

Dates and versions

hal-02329183 , version 1 (28-10-2019)



B Paulillo, S Pirotta, H. Nong, P. Crozat, S. Guilet, et al.. Ultrafast terahertz detectors based on three-dimensional meta-atoms. Optica, 2017, ⟨10.1364/OPTICA.4.001451⟩. ⟨hal-02329183⟩
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