Photoconductive antenna (PCA) is one of the most widely used terahertz (THz) devices nowadays. Although PCAs have been extensively studied through both theoretical analysis and device design, there still lacks a common agreement upon the mechanism of THz radiation. One of the central questions is how to distinguish and assess the contribution of the antenna structure and in-gap photocurrent to the overall radiation of a PCA. In this work, a three-dimensional full-wave model was first used to quantify the overall far-field radiation of PCAs. The commercial solver (i.e., HFSS) and the Hertzian dipole approximation method were then applied to quantify the far-field radiation solely from the antenna structure and in-gap photocurrent, respectively. The contribution of the antenna structure and in-gap photocurrent can therefore be distinguished by comparing the simulation results among the three methods. The results suggest that, although the THz radiation originates from laser-excited photocurrent within the gap, the overall THz radiation of a PCA is predominated by the antenna structure. As a validation, the cancellation effect was predicated by numerical simulation of coplanar stripline PCA and confirmed with experiment using butterfly shaped stripline PCA. The presented work uncovers the details of the underlying radiation mechanism of the PCA. This could inspire PCA design that aims for engineering the radiation properties of a PCA for specific applications.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)