Abstract

This paper analyzes new experimental results on the surface breakdown of semiconductors and thin metallic films by ultrashort pulses of plane-polarized terahertz radiation. It shows that the character of the observed breakdown is satisfactorily explained by the universal polariton model, tested with ultrashort pulses of visible and near-IR radiation interacting with condensed media. By using a nonlinear mathematical model of the formation of the spatial periods of a nanograting that are multiples of the wavelength of the exciting radiation, it is shown that the periods of the gratings thus formed are substantially shorter than the linear diffraction limit in the optical and terahertz regions. It is demonstrated that the diffraction limit can be overcome in nonlinear processes by which interference nanogratings are formed with normal and anomalous orientations.

© 2020 Optical Society of America

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