Mid-infrared detection with semiconductor based pixel arrays attracted constant research interest over the past years. Remaining challenges for intersubband detectors are high device performance at elevated temperatures in combination with cost effective scalability to large pixel counts needed for applications in remote sensing and high resolution infrared imaging.
In this field, quantum cascade detectors may offer promising advantages such as photovoltaic room temperature operation at a designable operation wavelength with compatibility to stable material systems and growth technology.
We present a high performance InGaAs/InAlAs quantum cascade detector design suitable for pixel devices. The design is based on a vertical optical transition and resonant tunneling extraction. The 20 period active region is optimized for a high device resistance and thereby high detectivity up to room temperature. The pixels are fully compatible with standard processing technology and material growth to provide scalability to large pixel counts. An enhanced quantum cascade detector simulator is used for design optimization of the resistance and extraction efficiency while maintaining state of the art responsivity. The device is thermo-compression bonded to a custom read out integrated circuit with substrate bottom side illuminated pixels utilizing a metal grating coupling scheme. The operation wavelength is designed to align with the strong CO2 absorption around 4.3µm. A room temperature responsivity of 16mA/W and a detectivity of 5∙10^7 cm√Hz/W was achieved in good agreement with our simulation results. Device packaging and thermo-electric cooling in an N2 purged 16 pin TO-8 housing has been investigated.
Andreas Harrer, Benedikt Schwarz, Simone Schuler, Peter Reininger, Alexander Wirthmüller, Hermann Detz, Donald MacFarland, Tobias Zederbauer, Aaron M. Andrews, Mario Rothermund, Hermann Oppermann, Werner Schrenk, and Gottfried Strasser, "Quantum cascade detector at 4.3um wavelength in pixel array configuration (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10111, Quantum Sensing and Nano Electronics and Photonics XIV, 101112C (Presented at SPIE OPTO: February 02, 2017; Published: 28 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2252275.5394049051001.
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