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Phys Rev Lett. 2006 Feb 24;96(7):075005. Epub 2006 Feb 23.

Coherent control of THz wave generation in ambient air.

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  • 1Center for Terahertz Research, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York 12180 USA.


Our study of THz wave generation in the pulsed laser induced air plasma with individually controlled phase, polarization, and amplitude of the optical fundamental wave (omega) and its second harmonic (2omega) indicates that the third-order nonlinear optical process mixing the omega and 2omega beams in the ionized plasma is the main mechanism of the efficient THz wave generation. The polarity and the strength of the emitted THz field are completely controlled by the relative phase between the omega and 2omega waves. The measured THz field amplitude is proportional to the pulse energy of the fundamental beam and to the square root of the pulse energy of the second-harmonic beam once the total optical pulse energy exceeds the plasma formation threshold. The optimal THz field is achieved when all waves (omega, 2omega, and THz waves) are at the same polarization in the four-wave-mixing process.

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