SPECIAL TOPIC —Terahertz physics
The advancement of terahertz technology in recent years and its applications in various fields lead to an urgent need for functional terahertz components, among which a terahertz switch is one example of the most importance because it provides an effective interface between terahertz signals and information in another physical quantity. To date many types of terahertz switches have been investigated mainly in the form of metamaterials made from metallic structures and optically-active medium. However, these reported terahertz switches usually suffer from an inferior performance, e.g., requiring a high pump laser power density due to a low quality factor of the metallic metamaterial resonances. In this paper, we report and numerically investigate a symmetry-broken silicon disk based terahertz resonator array which exhibits one resonance with ultrahigh quality factor for normal incidence of the terahertz radiations. This resonance, which can never be excited for regular circular Si disks, can help to realize a superior terahertz switch with which only an ultra-low optical pump power density is required to modify the free carrier concentration in Si and its refractive index in the terahertz band. Our findings demonstrate that to realize a high terahertz transmittance change from 0 to above 50%, the required optical pump power density is more than 3 orders of magnitude smaller than that required for a split-ring resonator (SRR) based terahertz switch reported in the literature.
Graphene and black phosphorus have attracted tremendous attention in optics due to their support of localized plasmon resonance. In this paper, a structure consisted of graphene-black phosphorus heterostructure is proposed to realize terahertz anisotropic near-perfect absorption. We demonstrate that strong plasmonic resonances in graphene-black phosphorus heterostructure nanoribbons can both be provided along armchair and zigzag directions, and dominated by the distance between the graphene and black phosphorus ribbons. In particular, the maximum absorption of 99.6% at 10.2 THz along armchair direction can be reached. The proposed high performance anisotropic structure may have promising potential applications in photodetectors, biosensors, and terahertz imaging.
As semiconductor devices, the terahertz quantum-cascade laser is a coherent source based on intersubband transitions of unipolar carriers while the terahertz quantum-well photodetector is a kind of detector which matches the laser frequency. They are solid-state, electrically operated, and can be easily integrated with other components. This paper reviews the state of the art for the design, working performance, and future directions of the two devices. Their applications in photoelectric characterization and imaging are also discussed.