Abstract

Because many sources of radiation in the submillimeter–terahertz have relatively low power, the development of sensitive detectors has been important. Equally important is the selection of detector and source methodologies appropriate for specific scientific or technological applications. Discussed is the effect of Bose–Einstein statistics, blackbody mode structure, and detector optical and electronic bandwidths to develop closed-form expressions for the contributions from experimental backgrounds to overall system noise. The results obtained allay the oft-expressed concerns that many important experiments, especially those conducted at elevated temperatures or in harsh environments such as plasmas, are either difficult or not possible with high-resolution cw systems. To the contrary, in the large majority of cases this excess background noise is not observable. Experimental examples are provided.

© 2004 Optical Society of America

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