We present a combined theoretical and experimental investigation of the generation of few-cycle terahertz (THz) pulses via the nonlinear effect of optical rectification and of their coherent detection via electro-optic sampling. The effects of dispersive velocity matching, absorption of the optical and the THz waves, crystal thickness, pulse diameter, pump pulse duration, and two-photon absorption are discussed. The theoretical calculations are compared with the measured spectra of THz pulses that have been generated and detected in crystals of the highly nonlinear organic salt 4-N,N-dimethylamino-4′-N′-methyl stilbazolium tosylate (DAST). The results are found to be in agreement with the theory. By the selection of the optical pump wavelength between 700 and 1600 nm, we achieved several maxima of the overall generation and detection efficiency in the spectral range between 0.4 and 6.7 THz, with an optimum at 2 THz generated with 1500 nm laser pulses.
© 2006 Optical Society of AmericaPDF Article