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12 November 2001 Advances in linear and area HgCdTe APD arrays for eyesafe LADAR sensors
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HgCdTe APDs and APD arrays offer unique advantages for high-performance eyesafe LADAR sensors. These include: operation at room temperature, low-excess noise, high gain, high-quantum efficiency at eyesafe wavelengths, GHz bandwidth, and high-packing density. The utility of these benefits for systems are being demonstrated for both linear and area array sensors. Raytheon has fabricated 32 element linear APD arrays utilizing liquid phase epitaxy (LPE), and packaged and integrating these arrays with low-noise amplifiers. Typical better APDs configured as 50-micron square pixels and fabricated utilizing RIE, have demonstrated high fill factors, low crosstalk, excellent uniformity, low dark currents, and noise equivalent power (NEP) from 1-2 nW. Two units have been delivered to NVESD, assembled with range extraction electronics, and integrated into the CELRAP laser radar system. Tests on these sensors in July and October 2000 have demonstrated excellent functionality, detection of 1-cm wires, and range imaging. Work is presently underway under DARPA's 3-D imaging Sensor Program to extend this excellent performance to area arrays. High-density arrays have been fabricated using LPE and molecular beam epitaxy (MBE). HgCdTe APD arrays have been made in 5 X 5, 10 X 10 and larger formats. Initial data shows excellent typical better APD performance with unmultiplied dark current < 10 nA; and NEP < 2.0 nW at a gain of 10.
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