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17 February 2010 Continuous-wave optical parametric oscillators on their way to the terahertz range
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Continuous-wave optical parametric oscillators (OPOs) are known to be working horses for spectroscopy in the near- and mid-infrared. However, strong absorption in nonlinear media like lithium niobate complicates the generation of far-infrared light. This absorption leads to pump thresholds vastly exceeding the power of standard pump lasers. Our first approach was, therefore, to combine the established technique of photomixing with optical parametric oscillators. Here, two OPOs provide one wave each, with a tunable difference frequency. These waves are combined to a beat signal as a source for photomixers. Terahertz radiation between 0.065 and 1.018 THz is generated with powers in the order of nanowatts. To overcome the upper frequency limit of the opto-electronic photomixers, terahertz generation has to rely entirely on optical methods. Our all-optical approach, getting around the high thresholds for terahertz generation, is based on cascaded nonlinear processes: the resonantly enhanced signal field, generated in the primary parametric process, is intense enough to act as the pump for a secondary process, creating idler waves with frequencies in the terahertz regime. The latter ones are monochromatic and tunable with detected powers of more than 2 μW at 1.35 THz. Thus, continuous-wave optical parametric oscillators have entered the field of terahertz photonics.
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Rosita Sowade, Ingo Breunig, Jens Kiessling, and Karsten Buse "Continuous-wave optical parametric oscillators on their way to the terahertz range", Proc. SPIE 7582, Nonlinear Frequency Generation and Conversion: Materials, Devices, and Applications IX, 75820O (17 February 2010);


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