Abstract by Charles Bahr
Chemistry and Biochemistry
Improving Terahertz generation through layered optical structures
Terahertz (THz) radiation is light with wavelengths ranging from 3 mm to 30 μm. THz has useful applications including chemical recognition, biomedical imaging, security, developing high-speed electronic devices, and even quality control in food processing. Creating THz radiation typically involves the conversion of short-pulsed infrared light into THz pulses at lower frequencies, a conversion most effectively accomplished by using organic crystals with nonlinear optical properties for infrared to THz conversion. While it is often advantageous to use these crystals over other THz generating methods, their setbacks include high refractive indices resulting in relfective losses, poor phase matching properties leading to absorbances, and high susceptibility to thermal damage from intense laser light. Our central hypothesis is that by using a variety of layered structures designed in our lab comprised of organic THz crystals in tandem with other specialized optical materials, we can achieve repeatable methods to overcome these three setbacks and improve overall THz crystal performance to produce stronger and broader THz spectra for practical use.