The theory of guided waves in metal–dielectric planar multilayer structures is applied to reduce the loss and maximize optical nonlinearity for efficient terahertz-field generation in a surface electromagnetic wave by femtosecond laser pulses confined in a
nonlinear planar waveguide. For typical parameters of thin-film polymer waveguides and metal–dielectric interfaces, the optimal size of the
waveguide core providing the maximum efficiency of terahertz plasmon-field generation is shown to be less than the wavelength of the optical pump field.
© 2008 Optical Society of America
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