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A room-temperature polarization-sensitive CMOS terahertz camera based on quantum-dot-enhanced terahertz-to-visible photon upconversion

Abstract

Detection of terahertz (THz) radiation has many potential applications, but presently available detectors are limited in many aspects of their performance, including sensitivity, speed, bandwidth and operating temperature. Most do not allow the characterization of THz polarization states. Recent observation of THz-driven luminescence in quantum dots offers a possible detection mechanism via field-driven interdot charge transfer. We demonstrate a room-temperature complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor THz camera and polarimeter based on quantum-dot-enhanced THz-to-visible upconversion mechanism with optimized luminophore geometries and fabrication designs. Besides broadband and fast responses, the nanoslit-based sensor can detect THz pulses with peak fields as low as 10 kV cm–1. A related coaxial nanoaperture-type device shows a to-date-unexplored capability to simultaneously record the THz polarization state and field strength with similar sensitivity.

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Fig. 1: Experimental scheme of polarization-sensitive THz imaging.
Fig. 2: THz-induced luminescence of QDs on FESs with different gap sizes.
Fig. 3: THz-induced luminescence with different luminescent materials.
Fig. 4: Simultaneous imaging of THz field strengths and polarimetry with a coaxial qTV.

Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding authors upon request.

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Acknowledgements

J.S., H.U., M.G.B. and K.A.N. acknowledge support from the US Army Research Lab (ARL) and the US Army Research Office through the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies, under Cooperative Agreement number W911-NF-18-2-0048. J.S. and K.A.N. also acknowledge support from the Samsung Global Research Outreach (GRO) Program. D.Y. and S.-H.O. acknowledge support from the Samsung GRO Program, the Sanford P. Bordeau Chair at the University of Minnesota and the McKnight Foundation. F.V.-C. and J.P. acknowledge support from the AFOSR grant no. FA9550-19-1-0240. J.H. and V.B. acknowledge support from the Center for Energy Efficient Electronics Science (NSF award 0939514). A.M.L acknowledges support from the Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences, Materials Sciences and Engineering Division, under Contract DE-AC02-76SF00515.

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Authors

Contributions

K.A.N. and S.-H.O. conceived the idea. J.S. performed the sensitivity characterizations under the supervision of K.A.N. D.Y. fabricated the nanoslits and nanocoaxes under the supervision of S.-H.O. F.V.-C. and N.-C.N. performed the field enhancement simulations under the supervision of J.P. C.-W.B. and K.-S.C. synthesized the luminophores. J.S. analysed the experimental data with crucial inputs from D.Y., H.U., A.M.L., M.G.B., S.-H.O. and K.A.N. J.H. synthesized the microslits under the supervision of V.B. J.S., D.Y., S.-H.O. and K.A.N. wrote the manuscript with inputs from all the authors.

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Correspondence to Sang-Hyun Oh or Keith A. Nelson.

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Nature Nanotechnology thanks Michael Ruggiero and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Supplementary Notes 1–5, Figs. 1–9 and Tables 1 and 2.

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Shi, J., Yoo, D., Vidal-Codina, F. et al. A room-temperature polarization-sensitive CMOS terahertz camera based on quantum-dot-enhanced terahertz-to-visible photon upconversion. Nat. Nanotechnol. 17, 1288–1293 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41565-022-01243-9

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