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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: C. Martijn de Sterke
  • Vol. 15, Iss. 23 — Nov. 12, 2007
  • pp: 15583–15588
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Terahertz movies of internal transmission images

Takashi Yasuda, Yoichi Kawada, Haruyoshi Toyoda, and Hironori Takahashi  »View Author Affiliations


Optics Express, Vol. 15, Issue 23, pp. 15583-15588 (2007)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OE.15.015583


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Abstract

Recently terahertz imaging using two-dimensional E-O sampling has attracted much interest because it can acquire real-time terahertz images unlike a conventional raster scan method. We are applying this technique to the non-destructive measurement of opaque materials in a visible range. We acquired 10-fps consecutive terahertz transmission images: dripping water in a plastic pipe and metal included in a piece of gum. Since the obtained images were confirmed to be proportional to the electric field of the terahertz waves, the images in the present paper are useful for quantitative analysis. We also showed the signal-to-noise ratio of the terahertz images.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

1. Introduction

Terahertz (THz) electro-magnetic waves (0.1–10 THz) have various features, such as sufficient transmission, non-invasion, and little scattering. Moreover, in the THz region peaks of intermolecular or phonon vibrations exist. Therefore, studies of THz spectroscopy [1

1. D. Grischkowsky, S. Keiding, M. Exter, and Ch. Fattinger, “Far-infrared time-domain spectroscopy with terahertz beams of dielectrics and semiconductors,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 7, 2006–2015 (1990). [CrossRef]

] and imaging [2

2. B. B. Hu and M. C. Nuss, “Imaging with terahertz waves,” Opt. Lett. 20, 1716–1718 (1995). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

, 3

3. D. Creeden, J. C. McCarthy, P. A. Ketteridge, P. G. Schunemann, T. Southward, J. J. Komiak, and E. P. Chicklis, “Compact, high average power, fiber-pumped terahertz source for active real-time imaging of concealed objectcs,” Opt. Express 15, 6478–6483 (2007). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

] for basic and industry applications have already been reported.

Since a THz wave poses no threat of contamination or invasion, as opposed to X-rays, THz imaging is useful for non-destruction and non-contact tests; THz imaging, which can also acquire two-dimensional (2D) transmission images, is generally performed using the raster scan method [2

2. B. B. Hu and M. C. Nuss, “Imaging with terahertz waves,” Opt. Lett. 20, 1716–1718 (1995). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

] that obtains THz images by moving the sample on the focus of the THz wave. However, this way has a disadvantage: it requires a long time to acquire the THz image due to sample movement.

Accordingly, real-time THz imaging based on the following principle has been developed [4

4. Q. Wu, T. D. Hewitt, and X.-C. Zhang, “Two-dimensional electro-optic imaging of THz beams,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 69, 1026–1028 (1996). [CrossRef]

]. An expanded THz wave illuminates a large area of a sample and penetrates it. As a result, the THz wave has a 2D transmission image of the sample. The image is transcribed onto an expanded probe pulse in a nonlinear optical crystal by the Pockels effect. Since the probe pulse is captured on camera, we can obtain a 2D transmission image of the sample without movement. In real-time THz imaging measurement, the THz image is acquired in the following steps: 1) a probe pulse image without THz radiation as a background is measured beforehand; 2) a THz image is obtained by subtracting the background from a probe pulse with THz radiation.

However under the present conditions, real-time 2D transmission images of an opaque object in a visible range have not been reported, despite the possibility of being performed by a real-time THz imaging method. In this paper, we demonstrate real-time 2D transmission imaging of opaque objects by dynamic subtraction with 2DEOS. Furthermore, we discuss SNR and the linearity of THz images.

2. Experimental Setup

Figure 1 shows a schematic setup for real-time THz imaging that employs a regenerative amplifier Ti:Sapphire laser system with a repetition rate of 1 kHz, a pulse duration of 30 fs, an output power of 1 mJ, and a center wavelength of 800 nm.

The femtosecond laser pulse is divided into a pump pulse and a probe pulse by a beam splitter (BS). The pump pulse is incident on a 1-mm-thick (110) ZnTe crystal as an emitter through a time-delay stage. A THz pulse is generated by optical rectification in the emitter. Since the pump pulse is modulated at 500 Hz by an optical chopper synchronized to the laser, a generated THz pulse is also modulated at 500 Hz that illuminates a sample. The THz pulse, which penetrated the sample, is imaged onto a (110) ZnTe crystal (1-mm thick) as a receiver by two plastic lenses (f = 100 mm).

This imaging formation that uses two lenses can rectify distortion. The probe pulse copropagates with the THz pulse after reflection on a pellicle beam splitter and is incident on the receiver. If the THz and probe pulses are simultaneously incident on the receiver, the polarization of the probe pulse is rotated by the Pockels effect.

The rotation angle of the polarization of the probe pulse is proportional to the electric field of the THz pulse, whose intensity is converted to the intensity of the probe pulse by analyzer (A). Therefore, the THz image is transcribed onto a probe pulse that is imaged onto a CMOS camera (Intelligent Vision System: IVS, Hamamatsu C8210-50, 232×232 pixel, 1000 fps) [6

6. Y. Sugiyama, M. Takumi, H. Toyoda, N. Mukozaka, A. Ihori, T. Kurashina, Y. Nakamura, T. Tonbe, and S. Mizuno, “A high-speed CMOS image sensor with profile data acquiring function,” IEEE J. Solid-State Circuits, 40, 2816–2823 (2005). [CrossRef]

] that synchronized with the 1-kHz repetition rate of the laser.

In turns, the CMOS camera captures image 1, which is a probe pulse with a THz pulse, and image 2, which is a probe pulse without a THz image. Next, the CMOS camera outputs an image that subtracted image 2 from image 1. As a result, we can obtain THz images in real time [7

7. F. Miyamaru, T. Yonera, M. Tani, and M. Hangyo, “Terahertz two-dimensional electrooptic sampling using high speed complementary metal-oxide semiconductor camera,” Jpn. J. Appl. Phys. 43, L489–L491 (2004). [CrossRef]

].

Fig. 1. Experimental setup for real-time THz imaging.

3. Result

3.1 Intensity linearity of THz images

Since the intensity linearity of THz images (i.e., THz images with quantities) has not been examined in detail, we evaluated linearity.

First, we created three kinds of attenuation filters for THz pulses made from metal and controlled their attenuation ratios by changing the open area ratio. Therefore, we decrease the amplitude of the THz pulse using these filters without time delay.

Second, we corrected the attenuation ratios of these filters by measuring the temporal waveforms of the THz pulse with and without filters using the general THz-TDS system [1

1. D. Grischkowsky, S. Keiding, M. Exter, and Ch. Fattinger, “Far-infrared time-domain spectroscopy with terahertz beams of dielectrics and semiconductors,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 7, 2006–2015 (1990). [CrossRef]

]. We obtained the corrected values of the attenuation ratios.

Finally, we acquired the THz images of these filters by real-time THz imaging and calculated the measurement values of the attenuation factors using the average amplitude of the center area (20×20 pixels) of these images. Figure 2 shows the relationship between the attenuation ratio of the measurement value and the corrected values.

As a result, since the graph of Fig. 2 is linear, we confirmed that the THz images have good intensity linearity because the rotation angle of the polarization of the probe pulse by THz pulse in the receiver is very small (about 0.5°).

Fig. 2. Relationship between attenuation ratio of measurement and corrected values.

3.2 Deletion of a ghost image

Figure 3 shows the probe pulse image without the THz pulse. The area in the circle of the dashed line in Fig. 3 is a ghost image, caused by the reflection of the probe pulse in the following process. First, the probe pulse is reflected at the surface of the ZnTe crystal (receiver). Then, it is reflected at the rear face of the plastic lens. Finally, it is returned to the CMOS camera and becomes a ghost image.

This image reduces the SNR of the THz image. Thus, we removed it by pasting a black polyethylene film at the rear surface of the lens (Fig. 4) to reduce the probe pulse reflection; it has good transmittance for the THz pulse.

Fig. 3. Probe pulse without THz pulse and circle area shows ghost image.
Fig. 4. Probe pulse without ghost image.

3.3 SNR of THz image

Figure 5 shows a photo of a sample: Al tape on a plastic substrate cut in the shape of an “H”. Although the THz pulse can penetrate the plastic, it cannot penetrate the Al tape. Thus, we can acquire an “H” - shaped THz image, as shown in Fig. 6, by the setup (Fig. 1).

Figure 7 shows a profile extracted at 116 pixels of the vertical axis in Fig. 6. The THz signal in the region from 100 to 180 pixels in Fig. 7 has vibration that is mainly caused by the distribution of the electro-optical constant in the ZnTe crystal.

Thus, we defined SNR as the ratio of the average intensity in the region of the THz signal to the standard deviation in the same region. We extracted 11 profiles between 97 and 107 pixels of the vertical axis and calculated the SNR of each profile. As a result, the average SNR of the 10 profiles is estimated to be about 11. This value is sufficient for applying the THz image.

Fig. 5. Sample photo: Al tape cut in shape of HPK on plastic substrate.
Fig. 6. “H” - shaped THz image of Fig. 5.
Fig. 7. Profile extracted at 116 pixels of vertical axis in Fig. 6: THz signal in region from 100 to 180 pixels.

3.4 THz movie

We acquired two movies of THz transmittance images (THz movies) at 10 fps (i.e., we integrated 50 frames) to demonstrate applications of non-destructive tests.

3.4.1. Dripping water in a pipe

Figure 8 is an optical image of a sample. We dripped water into a pipe whose inside is opaque in a visible range and measured the situation with a real-time THz imaging setup. As a result, we obtained a THz movie of the situation shown in Fig. 9. Here, the THz pulse is green. Water is black in Fig. 9 because it has strong absorption in the THz region, and a time delay occurred. We verified the situation in which water was dripping in a pipe.

Fig. 8. Optical image of sample: dripping water into a pipe whose inside is opaque in a visible range.
Fig. 9. (529 KB) THz movie of water dropping into a pipe (10 fps). [Media 1]

3.4.2 Staple in a piece of gum

We believe applications of non-destructive food verifications by THz imaging are effective. Therefore, we measured a piece of gum with good transmittance in the THz region.

Figure 10 shows a sample of a piece of gum stuck with a staple. We moved the gum to a translation stage vertically to the propagation of the THz pulse and acquired a 10-fps THz movie (Fig. 11) of the state in which the gum was moving. The staple is black in Fig. 11 because it prevents the THz pulse. In Fig. 11, we confirmed the situation in which the staple was moving.

Fig. 10. Gum stuck with a staple.
Fig. 11. (336 KB) THz movie of state in which gum was moving (10 fps). [Media 2]

4. Discussion

Our THz imaging method has two potential weaknesses. One, the THz image may disappear if the sample is changed. The reason is that the time delay of the THz pulse is changed by the different refractive index and the thickness of the new sample. Hence, for the new sample, we have to set a correct time-delay position where the intensity of the THz image is maximum. Our THz imaging method can acquire images by 500 fps without integration. Accordingly, we can easily adjust the correct time-delay position in real time, while moving the delay stage and simultaneously acquiring the THz image.

Another weakness is that the spatial resolution of the THz image is relatively low. For example, the resolution of our THz image is estimated at 1 mm because the THz pulse has broad spectrum including low frequency. This problem can be solved by metal hole array (MHA) [8

8. F. Miyamaru and M. Hangyo, “Finite size effect of transmission property for metal hole arrays in subterahertz region,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 84, 2742–2744 (2004). [CrossRef]

]. Since MHA works as a highpass filter in the terahertz region, a THz image with sufficient spatial resolution will be obtained.

5. Conclusion

We acquired two 10-fps THz movies of states in which water was dripping into a pipe and a staple in gum was moving. Therefore, we believe this THz imaging technique is very useful to non-destructive and non-contact tests for food, buildings, security, and so on.

Moreover, we confirmed that THz imaging has good intensity linearity because the modulation of the probe pulse by the THz pulse was small. Accordingly, quantitative evaluation using THz images, for example, absorption, was attained. We also defined the SNR of the THz image to be about 11.

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to T. Hiruma and Y. Suzuki for their support and S. Aoshima and M. Fujimoto for fruitful discussions.

References

1.

D. Grischkowsky, S. Keiding, M. Exter, and Ch. Fattinger, “Far-infrared time-domain spectroscopy with terahertz beams of dielectrics and semiconductors,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 7, 2006–2015 (1990). [CrossRef]

2.

B. B. Hu and M. C. Nuss, “Imaging with terahertz waves,” Opt. Lett. 20, 1716–1718 (1995). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

3.

D. Creeden, J. C. McCarthy, P. A. Ketteridge, P. G. Schunemann, T. Southward, J. J. Komiak, and E. P. Chicklis, “Compact, high average power, fiber-pumped terahertz source for active real-time imaging of concealed objectcs,” Opt. Express 15, 6478–6483 (2007). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

4.

Q. Wu, T. D. Hewitt, and X.-C. Zhang, “Two-dimensional electro-optic imaging of THz beams,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 69, 1026–1028 (1996). [CrossRef]

5.

Z. Jiang, X. G. Xu, and X.-C. Zhang, “Improvement of terahertz imaging with a dynamic subtraction technique,” Appl. Opt. 39, 2982–2987 (2000). [CrossRef]

6.

Y. Sugiyama, M. Takumi, H. Toyoda, N. Mukozaka, A. Ihori, T. Kurashina, Y. Nakamura, T. Tonbe, and S. Mizuno, “A high-speed CMOS image sensor with profile data acquiring function,” IEEE J. Solid-State Circuits, 40, 2816–2823 (2005). [CrossRef]

7.

F. Miyamaru, T. Yonera, M. Tani, and M. Hangyo, “Terahertz two-dimensional electrooptic sampling using high speed complementary metal-oxide semiconductor camera,” Jpn. J. Appl. Phys. 43, L489–L491 (2004). [CrossRef]

8.

F. Miyamaru and M. Hangyo, “Finite size effect of transmission property for metal hole arrays in subterahertz region,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 84, 2742–2744 (2004). [CrossRef]

OCIS Codes
(320.7110) Ultrafast optics : Ultrafast nonlinear optics
(110.6795) Imaging systems : Terahertz imaging

ToC Category:
Ultrafast Optics

History
Original Manuscript: September 18, 2007
Revised Manuscript: October 26, 2007
Manuscript Accepted: October 26, 2007
Published: November 9, 2007

Virtual Issues
Vol. 2, Iss. 12 Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics

Citation
Takashi Yasuda, Yoichi Kawada, Haruyoshi Toyoda, and Hironori Takahashi, "Terahertz movie of internal transmission imaging," Opt. Express 15, 15583-15588 (2007)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/oe/abstract.cfm?URI=oe-15-23-15583


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References

  1. D. Grischkowsky, S. Keiding, M. Exter, and Ch. Fattinger, "Far-infrared time-domain spectroscopy with terahertz beams of dielectrics and semiconductors," J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 7, 2006-2015 (1990). [CrossRef]
  2. B. B. Hu and M. C. Nuss, "Imaging with terahertz waves," Opt. Lett. 20, 1716-1718 (1995). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  3. D. Creeden, J. C. McCarthy, P. A. Ketteridge, P. G. Schunemann, T. Southward, J. J. Komiak, and E. P. Chicklis, "Compact, high average power, fiber-pumped terahertz source for active real-time imaging of concealed objectcs," Opt. Express 15, 6478-6483 (2007). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  4. Q. Wu, T. D. Hewitt, and X.-C. Zhang, "Two-dimensional electro-optic imaging of THz beams," Appl. Phys. Lett. 69, 1026-1028 (1996). [CrossRef]
  5. Z. Jiang, X. G. Xu, and X.-C. Zhang, "Improvement of terahertz imaging with a dynamic subtraction technique," Appl. Opt. 39, 2982-2987 (2000). [CrossRef]
  6. Y. Sugiyama, M. Takumi, H. Toyoda, N. Mukozaka, A. Ihori, T. Kurashina, Y. Nakamura, T. Tonbe, and S. Mizuno, "A high-speed CMOS image sensor with profile data acquiring function," IEEE J. Solid-State Circuits,  40, 2816-2823 (2005). [CrossRef]
  7. F. Miyamaru, T. Yonera, M. Tani, and M. Hangyo, "Terahertz two-dimensional electrooptic sampling using high speed complementary metal-oxide semiconductor camera," Jpn. J. Appl. Phys. 43, L489-L491 (2004). [CrossRef]
  8. F. Miyamaru and M. Hangyo, "Finite size effect of transmission property for metal hole arrays in subterahertz region," Appl. Phys. Lett. 84, 2742-2744 (2004). [CrossRef]

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