Highly-efficient THz generation using nonlinear plasmonic metasurfaces

M. Tymchenko, Juan Sebastian Gomez Diaz, J. Lee, M. A. Belkin, A. Alu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Nonlinear metasurfaces loaded with multi-quantum-well (MQW) heterostructures constitute a rapidly progressing class of optical devices that combine high nonlinear generation efficiency with an ultrathin profile. Here, we introduce and discuss terahertz (THz) difference-frequency generation (DFG) using MQW-based plasmonic metasurfaces and present a comprehensive theory for their rigorous electromagnetic analysis. We explicitly take into account complex phenomena associated with the local intensity saturation of intersubband transitions and identify fundamental upper-bounds for DFG conversion efficiency. Using this framework, we design and analyze a nonlinear DFG metasurface providing giant DFG nonlinear response and conversion efficiency up to 0.01% at 5.8 THz. Such metasurface can be used to generate 0.15 mW of THz power using pump intensities in the kW cm-2 range. We envision that such DFG metasurfaces can become a platform for uncooled, compact, and highly-efficient continuous-wave THz sources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104001
JournalJournal of Optics (United Kingdom)
Issue number10
StatePublished - Aug 29 2017


  • difference frequency generation
  • metasurfaces
  • nonlinear optics
  • THz sources

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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