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For more than two decades, the great success of terahertz time-domain
spectroscopy (THz-TDS) has kept high the enthusiasm of working
in this frequency range. Common knowledge from the optics world has
rapidly merged with THz applications, providing a unique boost to this
promising field. Notably, important breakthroughs in condensed matter
physics and time-resolved THz nonlinear optics have been reported.
However, one of the clear limitations of the THz applications described thus
far is the poor spatial resolution for imaging, for which intensive studies
have been conducted to work beyond the diffraction limit. Although nearfield
THz systems can achieve high spatial resolution, the usual THz nearfield
microscopes are based on linear effects, however there is great interest
on how nonlinear effects induced by THz radiation could be exploited for
THz imaging. For a Gaussian beam excitation, nonlinearities may have
strong spatial dependences on the field strength. Such features are typically
averaged out in the far-field, thus reducing or misinterpreting the local
nonlinear effects. One way to circumvent this problem is to access the
intense field/matter interactions in the near-field range and time-resolve
its 2-dimensional amplitude and phase distributions. Here, we present a
recently proposed microscope for real-time THz near- field studies, in which
an intense single-cycle THz pulse serves to illuminate a sample deposited
on a thin electro optic (EO) sensor for two-dimensional imaging. The key
concepts for fast imaging below the diffraction limit will be introduced
including the source, the sensor and its applicability for studying novel
electro- or magneto-optic sensors.
François Blanchard has completed his PhD in 2010 from INRS-EMT University, Québec and two Post-doctoral studies from Institute for integrated cell-material science, Kyoto University and in the Physics Department of McGill University. He has joined ÉTS as an Associate Professor in 2015 and recently obtained the ÉTS Research Chair on terahertz (THz) optoelectronic. He has contributed significantly in establishing a world reference in high field THz pulse generation using nonlinear crystals, as well as in developing, in collaboration with Olympus Corp., the first real-time near-field THz microscope.