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Ultrafast & Terahertz Photonics Group

Warwick Centre for Ultrafast Spectroscopy

We are part of WCUS, a joint activity between the Physics and Chemistry Departments at the University of Warwick.

Warwick Centre for Ultrafast Spectroscopy

Recent news from WCUS


Recent publications from the group [all | THz | perovskites | nano | biomedical]

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Evaluation of transdermal drug delivery using terahertz pulsed imaging

J. Wang, H. Lindley-Hatcher, K. Liu, E. Pickwell-MacPherson
Biomedical Optics Express 11 4484 (August 2020) [ pdf ] [ ref ]

DiagramTransdermal drug delivery (TDD) is widely used for painless dosing due to its minimally invasive nature compared to hypodermic needle injection and its avoidance of the gastrointestinal tract. However, the stratum corneum obstructs the permeation of drugs into skin. Microneedle and nanoneedle patches are ways to enhance this permeation. In this work, terahertz (THz) imaging is utilized to compare the efficacy of different TDD methods including topical application and via a needle patch. Our work shows the feasibility and potential of using THz imaging to quantify and evaluate different transdermal application methods.

Thu 24 Sep 2020, 10:01 | Tags: MacPherson, THz imaging, biomedical, 2020

An Ultrafast Shakedown Reveals the Energy Landscape, Relaxation Dynamics and Concentration of the N3VH0 Defect in Diamond

D.J.L. Coxon, M. Staniforth, B.G. Breeze, S.E. Greenough, J.P. Goss, M. Monti, J. Lloyd-Hughes, V.G. Stavros, and M.E. Newton
J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 11, 6677 (July 2020) [ pdf (with SI) ] [ ref ]

Ultrafast shakedownAtomic-scale defects can control the exploitable optoelectronic performance of crystalline materials, and several point defects in diamond are emerging functional components for a range of quantum technologies. Nitrogen and hydrogen are common impurities incorporated into diamond, and there is a family of defects that includes both. The N3VH0 defect is a lattice vacancy where three nearest neighbor carbon atoms are replaced with nitrogen atoms and a hydrogen is bonded to the remaining carbon. It is regularly observed in natural and high-temperature annealed synthetic diamond, and gives rise to prominent absorption features in the mid-infrared. Here, we combine time- and spectrally-resolved infrared absorption spectroscopy to yield unprecedented insight into the N3VH0 defect’s vibrational dynamics following infrared excitation of the C–H stretch. In doing so, we gain fundamental information about the energies of quantized vibrational states, and corroborate our results with theory. We map out, for the first time, energy relaxation pathways, which include multiphonon relaxation processes and anharmonic coupling to the C–H bend mode. These advances provide new routes to quantify and probe atomic-scale defects.

Fri 17 Jul 2020, 22:00 | Tags: nanomaterials, Lloyd-Hughes, 2020

Emergent Antipolar Phase in BiFeO3-La0.7Sr0.3MnO3 Superlattice

W. Dong, J.J.P. Peters, D. Rusu, M. Staniforth, A. Brunier, J. Lloyd-Hughes, A.M. Sanchez and M. Alexe
Nano Lett. 20 X, XXX (July 2020) [ pdf ] [ ref ]

Emergent antipolar phaseFerroelectric–paraelectric superlattices show emerging new states, such as polar vortices, through the interplay and different energy scales of various thermodynamic constraints. By introducing magnetic coupling at BiFeO3–La0.7Sr0.3MnO3 interfaces epitaxially grown on SrTiO3 substrate, we find, for the first time in thin films, a sub-nanometer thick lamella-like BiFeO3. The emergent phase is characterized by an arrangement of a two unit cell thick lamella-like structure featuring antiparallel polarization, resulting an antiferroelectric-like structure typically associated with a morphotropic phase transition. The antipolar phase is embedded within a nominal R3c structure and is independent of the BiFeO3 thickness (4–30 unit cells). Moreover, the superlattice structure with the morphotropic phase demonstrates azimuth-independent second harmonic generation responses, indicating a change of overall symmetry mediated by a delicate spatial distribution of the emergent phase. This work enriches the understanding of a metastable state manipulated by thermodynamic constraints by lattice strain and magnetic coupling.

Tue 14 Jul 2020, 21:05 | Tags: nanomaterials, Lloyd-Hughes, 2020

Real-time terahertz imaging with a single-pixel detector

R. I. Stantchev, X. Yu, T. Blu and E. Pickwell-MacPherson
Nature Communications 11 2535 (May 2020) [ pdf ] [ ref ]

Stantchev 2020Terahertz (THz) radiation is poised to have an essential role in many imaging applications, from industrial inspections to medical diagnosis. However, commercialization is prevented by impractical and expensive THz instrumentation. Single-pixel cameras have emerged as alternatives to multi-pixel cameras due to reduced costs and superior durability. Here, by optimizing the modulation geometry and post-processing algorithms, we demonstrate the acquisition of a THz-video (32 × 32 pixels at 6 frames-per-second), shown in real-time, using a single-pixel fiber-coupled photoconductive THz detector. A laser diode with a digital micromirror device shining visible light onto silicon acts as the spatial THz modulator. We mathematically account for the temporal response of the system, reduce noise with a lock-in free carrier-wave modulation and realize quick, noise-robust image undersampling. Since our modifications do not impose intricate manufacturing, require long post-processing, nor sacrifice the time-resolving capabilities of THz-spectrometers, their greatest asset, this work has the potential to serve as a foundation for all future single-pixel THz imaging systems.

Thu 09 Jul 2020, 22:23 | Tags: THz components, MacPherson, 2020

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