Abstract

Spatiotemporal measurements of a near-single-cycle terahertz pulse emitted from a photoconductive switch terahertz (THz) source show the effects of spherical aberration and surface waves on the pulse shape. The measured phase front has a swallow-tail shape described by catastrophe theory that contributes to the concentric ring structure of THz beam profiles. A time-of-flight model shows that the pulse shape is due to propagation along a cusp caustic and enhancement of the wings of the swallow-tail pulse is caused by surface waves.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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