Friday, March 25, 2016

Abstract-Real-Time Near-Field Terahertz Imaging with Atomic Optical Fluorescence

Terahertz (THz) near-field imaging is a flourishing discipline [1], with applications from fundamental studies of beam propagation [2,3] to the characterisation of metameterials [4,5] and waveguides [6,7]. Beating the diffraction limit typically involves rastering structures or detectors with length scale shorter than the radiation wavelength; in the THz domain this has been achieved using a number of techniques including scattering tips [8,9] and apertures [10]. Alternatively, mapping THz fields onto an optical wavelength and imaging the visible light removes the requirement for scanning a local probe, speeding up image collection times [11,12]. Here we report THz to optical conversion using a gas of highly excited `Rydberg' atoms. By collecting THz-induced optical fluorescence we demonstrate a real-time image of a THz standing wave and we use well-known atomic properties to calibrate the THz field strength. The mono-atomic gas does not distort the THz field and offers the potential to immerse structures within the THz-to-optical conversion medium.

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