Design and characterization of optical-THz phase-matched traveling-wave photomixers for difference-frequency generation of THz waves are presented. A dc-biased coplanar stripline fabricated on low-temperature-grown GaAs is illuminated by two non-collinear laser beams which generate moving interference fringes that are accompanied by THz waves. By tuning the offset angle between the two laser beams, the velocity of the interference fringe can be matched to the phase velocity of the THz wave in the coplanar stripline. The generated THz waves are radiated into free space by the antenna at the termination of the stripline. Enhancement of the output power was clearly observed when the phase-matching condition was satisfied. The output power spectrum has a 3-dB bandwidth of 2 THz and rolls off as approximately 9 dB/Oct which is determined by the frequency dependent attenuation in the stripline, while the bandwidth of conventional photomixer design has the limitation by the RC time constant due to the electrode capacitance. The device can handle the laser power of over 380 mW, which is 5 times higher than the maximum power handring capability of conventional small area devices. The results show that the traveling-wave photomixers have the potential to surpass small area designs, especially at higher frequencies over 1 THz, owing to their great thermal dissipation capability and capacitance-free wide bandwidth.© (1999) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.