Chinese Optics Letters, Volume. 20, Issue 9, 091101(2022)

Subwavelength resolved terahertz real-time imaging based on a compact and simplified system

Zhiyong Tan1,2,*, Wenjian Wan1, Chang Wang1,2, and Juncheng Cao1,2,**
Author Affiliations
  • 1Laboratory of Terahertz Solid-state Technology, Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200050, China
  • 2Center of Materials Science and Optoelectronics Engineering, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
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    A real-time imaging system based on a compact terahertz laser is constructed by employing one off-axis parabolic mirror and one silicon lens. Terahertz imaging of water, water stains, leaf veins, human hairs, and metal wire is demonstrated. An imaging resolution of 68 µm is achieved. The experiments show that this compact and simplified imaging system is suitable for penetration demonstration of terahertz light, water distribution measurement, and imaging analysis of thin samples.


    1. Introduction

    Terahertz real-time imaging is a promising technology for applications in material characterizations, material reaction analysis, and biomedical imaging[1,2]. The first, to the best of our knowledge, demonstration of real-time imaging in terahertz region was realized by employing a powerful gas laser[3]. However, the gas laser is huge and expensive, which makes it difficult to obtain practical application in the imaging system. Therefore, Lee et al.[4] developed an imaging system by employing the quantum-cascade laser (QCL) that is one of the important terahertz solid-state sources with high output power and compact structure. After that, research on terahertz real-time imaging has been rapidly developed in the past ten or more years[514]. By improving the performance of terahertz arrays[5,8], the real-time imaging demonstration with a resolution of hundreds of microns is realized. Using a microscope lens and synchronous signal locking, the imaging resolution is improved to less than 100 µm[6]. Finally, a two-dimensional wobbling mirror has been used to eliminate the interference fringes of the emitting light of terahertz QCL[11]. Although the performance and imaging effects of terahertz real-time imaging systems have been greatly improved by employing the above improvements in receiver and optical path, the complex optics and high cost make the above imaging system unable to be widely used.


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    Zhiyong Tan, Wenjian Wan, Chang Wang, Juncheng Cao. Subwavelength resolved terahertz real-time imaging based on a compact and simplified system[J]. Chinese Optics Letters, 2022, 20(9): 091101

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    Paper Information

    Category: Imaging Systems and Image Processing

    Received: Mar. 27, 2022

    Accepted: May. 17, 2022

    Posted: May. 18, 2022

    Published Online: Jun. 16, 2022

    The Author Email: Zhiyong Tan (, Juncheng Cao (



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