Nanoscale Laser Terahertz Emission Microscopy

P. Klarskov, H. Kim, V. L. Colvin, and D. M. Mittleman

ACS Photonics, Article ASAP (2017)
Laser terahertz emission microscopy (LTEM) has become a powerful tool for studying ultrafast dynamics and local fields in many different types of materials. This technique, which relies on acceleration of charge carriers in a material upon femtosecond excitation, can provide insight into the physics of charge transport, built-in fields, grain boundaries or surface states. We describe a new implementation of LTEM with a spatial resolution in the nanoscale regime based on a scattering-type near-field tip-based approach. We observe a spectral reshaping of the signal compared to conventional LTEM, which is analyzed using a resonant antenna model. Our experimental and computational results clarify the importance of the mechanisms for both the plasmonic in-coupling of the near-infrared pulses into the near field and the out-coupling of the generated terahertz pulses. We demonstrate a tip-size-limited spatial resolution of ∼20 nm by imaging a gold nanorod using terahertz emission from the underlying substrate. This work enables for the first time the possibility of performing LTEM measurements on individual nanostructures.