Ultrafast multi-terahertz nano-spectroscopy with sub-cycle temporal resolution

M. Eisele, T. L. Cocker, M. A. Huber, M. Plankl, L. Viti, D. Ercolani, L. Sorba, M. S. Vitiello & R. Huber

Nature Photonics 8, 841–845 (2014)
Phase-locked ultrashort pulses in the rich terahertz spectral range have provided key insights into phenomena as diverse as quantum confinement, first-order phase transitions, high-temperature superconductivity and carrier transport in nanomaterials. Ultrabroadband electro-optic sampling of few-cycle field transients1 can even reveal novel dynamics that occur faster than a single oscillation cycle of light. However, conventional terahertz spectroscopy is intrinsically restricted to ensemble measurements by the diffraction limit. As a result, it measures dielectric functions averaged over the size, structure, orientation and density of nanoparticles, nanocrystals or nanodomains. Here, we extend ultrabroadband time-resolved terahertz spectroscopy to the sub-nanoparticle scale (10 nm) by combining sub-cycle, field-resolved detection (10 fs) with scattering-type near-field scanning optical microscopy (s-NSOM). We trace the time-dependent dielectric function at the surface of a single photoexcited InAs nanowire in all three spatial dimensions.