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We propose and experimentally demonstrate a spatial slicing technique for the generation and encoding of a terahertz optical pulse train. The configuration consists simply of a group of optical delay lines arranged in a two-dimensional array. Optical pulse trains at repetition rates of 0.6 and 1.0 THz are achieved. With the use of spatial masks, different output signals can also be produced. The spatial slicing technique provides a feasibility to switch off selected optical pulses in a terahertz pulse train using low-speed switches. © 2001 American Institute of Physics.