Antimonide-based photodetectors have recently been grown on a GaAs substrate by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) and reported to have comparable performance to the devices grown on more expensive InSb and GaSb substrates. We demonstrated that GaAs, in addition to providing a cost saving substrate for antimonide-based semiconductor growth, can be used as a functional material to fabricate transistors and realize addressing circuits for the heterogeneously grown photodetectors. Based on co-integration of a GaAs MESFET with an InSb photodiode, we recently reported the first demonstration of a switchable and mid-IR sensible photo-pixel on a GaAs substrate that is suitable for large-scale integration into a focal plane array. In this work we report on the fabrication steps that we had to develop to deliver the integrated photo-pixel. Various highly controllable etch processes, both wet and dry etch based, were established for distinct material layers. Moreover, in order to avoid thermally-induced damage to the InSb detectors, a low temperature annealed Ohmic contact was used, and the processing temperature never exceeded 180 °C. Furthermore, since there is a considerable etch step (> 6 μm) that metal must straddle in order to interconnect the fabricated devices, we developed an intermediate step using polyimide to provide a smoothing section between the lower MESFET and upper photodiode regions of the device. This heterogeneous technology creates great potential to realize a new type of monolithic focal plane array of addressable pixels for imaging in the medium wavelength infrared range without the need for flip-chip bonding to a CMOS readout chip.
Chengzhi Xie, Vincenzo Pusino, Ata Khalid, Mohsin Aziz, Matthew J. Steer, and David R. S. Cumming, "A new monolithic approach for mid-IR focal plane arrays," Proc. SPIE 9987, Electro-Optical and Infrared Systems: Technology and Applications XIII, 99870T (Presented at SPIE Security + Defence: September 29, 2016; Published: 21 October 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2241323.
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