The emission of freely propagating terahertz (THz) radiation coming from optical rectification at metallic surfaces has been detected and characterized for the first time to the authors' knowledge. The observed THz transients are induced through nonlinear electronic processes at gold and silver surfaces on intense pulsed optical photoexcitation and exhibit a peak electric field of as much as 200 V/cm. This finding opens a qualitatively new way to investigate nonlinear phenomena at metal surfaces and also can be exploited for the development of new THz emitters.
© 2004 Optical Society of America
Filip Kadlec, Petr Kužel, and Jean-Louis Coutaz, "Optical rectification at metal surfaces," Opt. Lett. 29, 2674-2676 (2004)