Towards terahertz detection and calibration through spontaneous parametric down-conversion in the terahertz idler-frequency range generated by a 795 nm diode laser system


We study a calibration scheme for terahertz wave nonlinear-optical detectors based on spontaneous parametric down-conversion. Contrary to the usual low wavelength pump in the green, we report here on the observation of spontaneous parametric down-conversion originating from an in-growth poled lithium niobate crystal pumped with a continuous wave 50 mW, 795 nm diode laser system, phase-matched to a terahertz frequency idler wave. Such a system is more compact and allows for longer poling periods as well as lower losses in the crystal. Filtering the pump radiation by a rubidium-87 vapor cell allowed the frequency-angular spectra to be obtained down to ∼0.5 THz or ∼1 nm shift from the pump radiation line. The presence of an amplified spontaneous emission “pedestal” in the diode laser radiation spectrum significantly hampers the observation of spontaneous parametric down-conversion spectra, in contrast to conventional narrowband gas lasers. Benefits of switching to longer pump wavelengths are pointed out, such as collinear optical-terahertz phase-matching in bulk crystals.

APL Photonics