Infrared LEDs and negative luminescent devices, where less light is emitted than in equilibrium, have been attracting an increasing amount of interest recently. They have a variety of applications, including as a 'source’ of IR radiation for gas sensing; radiation shielding for and non-uniformity correction of high sensitivity starring infrared detectors; and dynamic infrared scene projection. Similarly, IR detectors are used in arrays for thermal imaging and, discretely, in applications such as gas sensing. Multi-layer heterostructure epitaxy enables the growth of both types of device using designs in which the electronic processes can be precisely controlled and techniques such as carrier exclusion and extraction can be implemented. This enables detectors to be made which offer good performance at higher than normal operating temperatures, and efficient negative luminescent devices to be made which simulate a range of effective temperatures whilst operating uncooled.
In both cases, however, additional performance benefits can be achieved by integrating optical concentrators around the diodes to reduce the volume of semiconductor material, and so minimise the thermally activated generation-recombination processes which compete with radiative mechanisms. The integrated concentrators are in the form of Winston cones, which can be formed using an iterative dry etch process involving methane/hydrogen and oxygen. We will present results on negative luminescence in the mid and long IR wavebands, from devices made from indium antimonide and mercury cadmium telluride, where the aim is sizes greater than 1cm x 1cm. We will also discuss progress on, and the potential for, operating temperature and/or sensitivity improvement of detectors, where very higher performance imaging is anticipated from systems which require no mechanical cooling.