Profiling of atmospheric CO2 at 2 μm wavelength using the LIDAR technique, has recently gained interest. Although several
detectors might be suitable for this application, an ideal device would have high gain, low noise and narrow spectral response peaking around the wavelength of interest. This increases the detector signal-to-noise ratio and minimizes the background signal, thereby increasing the device sensitivity and dynamic range. Detectors meeting the above idealized criteria are commercially unavailable for this particular wavelength. In this paper, the characterization and analysis of Sb-based detectors for 2 μm lidar applications are presented. The detectors were manufactured by AstroPower, Inc., with an InGaAsSb absorbing layer and AlGaAsSb passivating layer. The characterization experiments included spectral response, current versus voltage and noise measurements. The effect of the detectors bias voltage and temperature on its performance, have been investigated as well. The detectors peak responsivity is located at the 2 μm wavelength. Comparing three detector samples, an optimization of the spectral response around the 2 μm wavelength, through a narrower spectral period was observed. Increasing the detector bias voltage enhances the device gain at the narrow spectral range, while cooling the device reduces the cut-off wavelength and lowers its noise. Noise-equivalent-power analysis results in a value as low as 4x10-12 W/Hz1/2 corresponding to D* of 1x1010 cmHz1/2/W, at -1 V and 20°C. Discussions also include device operational physics and optimization guidelines, taking into account peculiarity of the Type II heterointerface and transport mechanisms under these conditions.