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Phys Rev Lett. 2007 Jan 12;98(2):026803. Epub 2007 Jan 10.

Terahertz-pulse emission through laser excitation of surface plasmons in a metal grating.

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  • 1Department of Physics, SUPA, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow G4 0NG, Scotland, UK.


The second-order processes of optical-rectification and photoconduction are well known and widely used to produce ultrafast electromagnetic pulses in the terahertz frequency domain. We present a new form of rectification that relies on the excitation of surface plasmons in metal films deposited on a shallow grating. Multiphoton ionization and ponderomotive acceleration of electrons in the enhanced evanescent field of the surface plasmons results in a femtosecond current surge and emission of terahertz electromagnetic radiation. Using gold, this rectification process is third or higher-order in the incident field.

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