Abstract

Models of different available single-photodetector electro-optic sampling schemes are considered from the unified theoretical position. It is taken into account that under electro-optic terahertz wave detection, not only do the polarization states of the femtosecond optical pulse components change but the modules of their amplitudes are also varied. As a result, information concerning the terahertz wave can be obtained not only using the conventional ellipsometry readout scheme (probe-phase sampling) but also by simple measuring of the induced power of the optical pulses (probe-energy sampling). Spectral sensitivities of both of these electro-optic sampling methods are calculated for the cases of nonlinear-optical crystals with zinc-blende symmetry (like ZnTe) and the crystals with one active component of the second-order optical susceptibility tensor (like PPLN). It is found that the ratio between spectral sensitivities of the pure probe-phase and pure probe-energy schemes is proportional to the ratio between the optical and terahertz wave frequencies in all types of the crystals. It is shown that the signal in the near-zero optical transmission point scheme, which is the best for terahertz imaging, has a mixed character. While the contribution of the probe-phase sensitivity appears to be due to spatially nonuniform residual birefringence of the nonlinear zinc-blende crystal, the probe-energy part of the sensitivity has a uniform distribution and can be increased by the angle misalignment of the optical polarization element.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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