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Opt Lett. 2011 Sep 15;36(18):3633-5. doi: 10.1364/OL.36.003633.

All-optical ultrafast polarization switching of terahertz radiation by impulsive molecular alignment.

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State Key Laboratory of Precision Spectroscopy, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China.


We experimentally demonstrate ultrafast polarization switching of terahertz (THz) radiation generated by dual-color driving pulses composed of orthogonally polarized fundamental and second-harmonic waves, which can be controlled by field-free molecular alignment in air by modulating the relative phase between the two field components as a transient dynamic wave plate. By fine-tuning the time delay to properly match the molecular alignment revivals, a significant polarization modulation of the THz radiation is observed and both linearly and elliptically polarized THz radiations can be obtained.

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