Abstract

We describe a new four-wave rectification method for the generation of intense, ultrafast terahertz (THz) pulses from gases. The fundamental and second-harmonic output of an amplified Ti:sapphire laser is focused to a peak intensity of 5×1014 W/cm2. Under these conditions, peak THz fields estimated at 2 kV/cm have been observed; the measured power spectrum peaks near 2 THz. Phase-dependent measurements show that this is a coherent process and is sensitive to the relative phases of the fundamental and second-harmonic pulses. Comparable THz signals have been observed from nitrogen and argon as well as from air.

© 2000 Optical Society of America

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