Nonlinear plasmonic metasurfaces provide new and promising means to produce broadband terahertz (THz) radiation, due to their compact size and functionalities beyond those achievable with conventional THz emitters. However, they were driven to date only by amplified laser systems, which are expensive and have a large footprint, thus limiting the range of their potential applications. Here we study for the first time the possibility to drive metasurface emitters by low-energy near-infrared femtosecond pulses. We observe broadband THz emission from 40 nm thick metasurfaces and achieve near-infrared to THz conversion efficiencies as high as those of 2500-fold thicker ZnTe crystals. We characterize the THz emission properties and use the metasurface emitter to perform a spectroscopic measurement of α-lactose monohydrate. These results show that nonlinear plasmonic metasurfaces are suitable for integration as emitters in existing compact THz spectroscopy and imaging systems, enhancing their functionalities, and opening the door for a variety of new applications.
- low-energy excitation
- nonlinear metasurface (NLMS)
- plasmonic metasurface antenna (PMA)
- terahertz (THz)