Physics and engineering of strong terahertz pulse generation
Terahertz science and technologyis of great current interest due to its potential applications in bio-medicalimaging and spectroscopy, chemical/explosive detection, wireless communication,security scanning, and plasma diagnostics. However, few sources and detectors existin the terahertz frequency band. This leaves a major gap between the opticaland microwave regions, for which new high-power terahertz sources would have amajor impact. One promising source pioneered by my group and now adoptedworldwide is based on controlling the laser-driven orbits of free electronsliberated by high field ionization of gases. In this talk, I will presentrecent experiments that provide a better understanding of this process, enablingus to achieve a world record in THz generation efficiency. This source willopen up new opportunities to explore extreme terahertz-driven nonlinearprocesses in atoms, molecules, and plasmas.