Abstract

A miniature neon indicator lamp, also known as a glow discharge detector (GDD), costing about 50 cents, was found to be an excellent room temperature terahertz radiation detector. Proof-of-concept 300 GHz heterodyne detection using GDD is demonstrated in this paper. Furthermore, a comparison to direct detection was carried out as well. Previous results with the GDD at 10 GHz showed 40 times better sensitivity using heterodyne detection compared to direct detection. Preliminary results at 300 GHz showed better sensitivity by a factor of 20 with only 56 μW local-oscillator power using heterodyne compared to direct detection. The higher the local-oscillator power (Plo), the better the sensitivity of the detector. Further improvement can be achieved by employing better quasi-optical design.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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