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Terahertz electrometry via infrared spectroscopy of atomic vapor

Chen, Shuying; Reed, Dominic J.; MacKellar, Andrew R.; Downes, Lucy A.; Almuhawish, Nourah F.A.; Jamieson, Matthew J.; Adams, Charles S.; Weatherill, Kevin J.

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Shuying Chen

Dominic J. Reed

Nourah F.A. Almuhawish


In recent years, the characterisation of radiation falling within the so-called ‘terahertz (THz) gap’ has become an ever more prominent issue due to the increasing use of THz systems in applications such as nondestructive testing, security screening, telecommunications, and medical diagnostics. THz detection technologies have advanced rapidly, yet traceable calibration of THz radiation remains challenging. In this paper, we demonstrate a system of electrometry in which a THz signal can be characterized using laser spectroscopy of highly excited (Rydberg) atomic states. We report on proof-of-principle measurements that reveal a minimum detectable THz electric field amplitude of 1.070.06 V/m at 1.06 THz (3 ms detection), corresponding to a THz power at the atomic cell of approximately 3.4 nW. Due to the relative simplicity and cryogen-free nature of this system, it has the potential to provide a route to a SI traceable ‘atomic candle’ for THz calibration across the terahertz frequency range, and provide an alternative to calorimetric methods.


Chen, S., Reed, D. J., MacKellar, A. R., Downes, L. A., Almuhawish, N. F., Jamieson, M. J., …Weatherill, K. J. (2022). Terahertz electrometry via infrared spectroscopy of atomic vapor. Optica, 9(5), 485-491.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 4, 2022
Online Publication Date Apr 29, 2022
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date Mar 29, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jul 18, 2022
Journal Optica
Publisher Optica
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 5
Pages 485-491
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Published Journal Article (1.4 Mb)

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Copyright Statement
Published by Optica Publishing Group under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. Further distribution of this work<br /> must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the published article’s title, journal citation, and DOI.

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