Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

High power time domain terahertz spectroscopy
by Graber, Benjamin, Ph.D., Temple University, 2014, 218; 3671900
Abstract (Summary)

Terahertz (THz) has become a strong area for scientific research and commercial application in recent years. This research group has redesigned and optimized a THz photoconductive antenna, which currently operates with approximately 10x the power of a commercial antenna. It has been determined by this research that the THz signal emitted from a photoconductive antenna consists of coherent and incoherent signals. In addition to the improvement of the THz photoconductive antenna, I have optimized an electro optic THz detection system by characterizing the field dependency of an electro optic crystal, which enabled me to estimate the THz electric field strength. The high power THz source and optimized detection system were combined into a high power, high resolution time domain THz spectrometer.

This spectrometer was used to conduct original measurements of the THz spectrum of water vapor, ionized air, and various chemical vapor including explosives. Most of these measurements were only possible with our improved THz spectrometer. In order to understand ionized air, an additional study was carried out to explore the ionization of several gases (e.g. N2, O2, Ar, CO2, and water vapor) which were ionized by radioactive isotopes. This unique study found that in addition to dose rate, the gamma energy of the radioactive isotopes and the sequential ionization levels of gases affect the equilibrium ion densities of these gases. This effect was especially pronounced for argon gas. The study of ion dynamics in gases has lead to the development of a prototype for stand-off detection and identification of radioactive isotopes. This prototype, despite being simple in design, can detect isotopes faster and more cheaply than a conventional gamma ray spectrometer. Throughout this thesis research I have successfully developed a high power, high resolution terahertz spectrometer and demonstrated that with the spectrometer I could identify characteristic resonances of water vapor, some chemicals including explosives, and even ionized air produced by nuclear isotopes. From the characteristic resonance frequencies one can understand the underlying physics or chemistry of molecules or atoms.

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Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Tao, Rongjia
Commitee: Kendziora, Chris, Riseborough, Peter, Wu, Dong Ho
School: Temple University
Department: Physics
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-B 76/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Optics, Materials science
Keywords: Air, Electro-optics, Ionization, Photoconductive, Spectroscopy, Terahertz
Publication Number: 3671900
ISBN: 978-1-321-49118-0
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