In recent years the terahertz time-domain spectrometer (THz TDS)  has emerged as a key measurement device for spectroscopic investigations in the frequency range of 0.1-5 THz. To date, almost every type of material has been studied using THz TDS, including semiconductors, ceramics, polymers, metal films, liquid crystals, glasses, pharmaceuticals, DNA molecules, proteins, gases, composites, foams, oils, and many others. Measurements with a TDS are made in the time domain; conversion from the time domain data to a frequency spectrum is achieved by applying the Fourier Transform, calculated numerically using the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) algorithm. As in many other types of spectrometer, THz TDS requires that the sample data be referenced to similarly acquired data with no sample present. Unlike frequency-domain spectrometers which detect light intensity and measure absorption spectra, a TDS records both amplitude and phase information, and therefore yields both the absorption coefficient and the refractive index of the sample material. The analysis of the data from THz TDS relies on the assumptions that: a) the frequency scale is accurate; b) the measurement of THz field amplitude is linear; and c) that the presence of the sample does not affect the performance characteristics of the instrument. The frequency scale of a THz TDS is derived from the displacement of the delay line; via FFT, positioning errors may give rise to frequency errors that are difficult to quantify. The measurement of the field amplitude in a THz TDS is required to be linear with a dynamic range of the order of 10 000. And attention must be given to the sample positioning and handling in order to avoid sample-related errors.
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