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All-optical ultrafast polarization switching of terahertz radiation by impulsive molecular alignment

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Abstract

We experimentally demonstrate ultrafast polarization switching of terahertz (THz) radiation generated by dual-color driving pulses composed of orthogonally polarized fundamental and second-harmonic waves, which can be controlled by field-free molecular alignment in air by modulating the relative phase between the two field components as a transient dynamic wave plate. By fine-tuning the time delay to properly match the molecular alignment revivals, a significant polarization modulation of the THz radiation is observed and both linearly and elliptically polarized THz radiations can be obtained.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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