We present three methods for the distortion-free enhancement of THz signals measured by electro-optic sampling in zinc blende-type detector crystals, e.g., ZnTe or GaP. A technique commonly used in optically heterodyne-detected optical Kerr effect spectroscopy is introduced, which is based on two measurements at opposite optical biases near the zero transmission point in a crossed polarizer detection geometry. In contrast to other techniques for an undistorted THz signal enhancement, it also works in a balanced detection scheme and does not require an elaborate procedure for the reconstruction of the true signal as the two measured waveforms are simply subtracted to remove distortions. We study three different approaches for setting an optical bias using the Jones matrix formalism and discuss them also in the framework of optical heterodyne detection. We show that there is an optimal bias point in realistic situations where a small fraction of the probe light is scattered by optical components. The experimental demonstration will be given in the second part of this two-paper series [J. Opt. Soc. Am. B, doc. ID 204877 (2014, posted online)].
© 2014 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: January 16, 2014
Manuscript Accepted: March 1, 2014
Published: March 31, 2014
Fabian D. J. Brunner, Jeremy A. Johnson, Sebastian Grübel, Andrés Ferrer, Steven L. Johnson, and Thomas Feurer, "Distortion-free enhancement of terahertz signals measured by electro-optic sampling. I. Theory," J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 31, 904-910 (2014)