Interferometrically enhanced sub-terahertz picosecond imaging utilizing a miniature collapsing-field-domain source
Progress in terahertz spectroscopy and imaging is mostly associated with femtosecond laser-driven systems, while solid-state sources, mainly sub-millimetre integrated circuits, are still in an early development phase. As simple and cost-efficient an emitter as a Gunn oscillator could cause a breakthrough in the field, provided its frequency limitations could be overcome. Proposed here is an application of the recently discovered collapsing field domains effect that permits sub-THz oscillations in sub-micron semiconductor layers thanks to nanometer-scale powerfully ionizing domains arising due to negative differential mobility in extreme fields. This shifts the frequency limit by an order of magnitude relative to the conventional Gunn effect. Our first miniature picosecond pulsed sources cover the 100–200 GHz band and promise milliwatts up to ∼500 GHz. Thanks to the method of interferometrically enhanced time-domain imaging proposed here and the low single-shot jitter of ∼1 ps, our simple imaging system provides sufficient time-domain imaging contrast for fresh-tissue terahertz histology.