5 October 2006 Optimisation of QWIP performance for high-temperature and low-background applications
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The ultimate performance of QWIP implies hard requirements on the response-to-dark-current ratio for both high operating temperature and low background, e.g. space, applications. A way to improve this ratio by finding the optimal combination of band structure and material parameters is suggested. Experiments have been conducted on GaAs/AlGaAs structures optimised for 8.5 to 16 μm with similar types of band profile. The doping concentration in the quantum well (QW) is the principal parameter in such optimisation because it affects linearly the photocurrent and exponentially the dark current. As a result of the first experiment series we found an optimal QW doping concentration corresponding to the maximum response-to-dark-current-ratio, thus verifying the validity of the widely used hydrodynamic model. Experiments with a varying number of quantum wells for a constant total thickness were also carried out and analyzed. The resulting variation in barrier thickness changes the balance between the quantum efficiency and photoconductive gain. A critical thickness was found, where the temperature-independent component of the dark current increases drastically. For low background applications, especially in combination with long wavelength detection, it is not enough to only reduce the thermally-assisted and sequential tunnelling components of the dark current. Other sources of the dark current usually neglected at high temperature start to play a role. Interface shape and background doping in the barriers are examples of increasingly important factors. We discuss the contribution of these factors to the dark current.
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Andrey Gromov, Carl Asplund, Sergiy Smuk, Henk Martijn, "Optimisation of QWIP performance for high-temperature and low-background applications", Proc. SPIE 6395, Electro-Optical and Infrared Systems: Technology and Applications III, 639502 (5 October 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.689784; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.689784

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