Recently there has been a great deal of interest in the growth of dilute nitride quaternary alloys, such as InGaNAs, on GaAs substrates for the fabrication of GaAs-based components and optoelectronic integrated circuits. The addition of indium to the binary compound GaAs produces a ternary with a lower bandgap and larger lattice constant. The incorporation of nitrogen in this ternary further decreases the bandgap while reducing the lattice constant. This makes it possible to grow material lattice-matched to a GaAs substrate but with a narrower bandgap offering the possibility of growing materials suitable for opto-electronic devices on a GaAs substrate while operating at wavelengths used in long-distance optical communications. These devices can then be integrated with mature GaAs device technologies (MESFET, HBT) in photoreceivers and receivers/transmitters for improved functionality and reliability,
lower cost, reduced size, etc.
We have fabricated metal-semiconductor-metal (MSM) photodetectors on 1-μm thick In .1Ga.9N.03As.97 epilayers, a composition that results in a bandgap in the 1.3 μm region. We report on the DC characteristics, frequency dependence and wavelength dependence of the photoresponse. The results are compared to MSMs fabricated on GaAs. The temporal response is not as fast as that of GaAs MSMs and may be related to low carrier mobility. This shortcoming has been reported as the cause for the lower-than-expected efficiency of solar cells fabricated using this quarternary. The effect of growth conditions and thermal processing on detector characteristics such as bandwidth and dark current were investigated. The challenges associated with the use of InGaNAs in photodetectors (such as defects, response speed, requirement for thermal anneal) will be discussed.