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7 May 2009 HgCdTe technology in Germany: the past, the present, and the future
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The first HgCdTe (MCT) activities at AEG-Telefunken in Germany were started in 1976. As part of the closing of AEG, the Heilbronn based IR-technology division was established as a spin-off company in 1995, under the brand name of AIM Infrarot-Module GmbH. A rapidly growing team of scientists focused on the detector-dewar-cooler technology and the development of linear photoconductive MCT arrays by applying the solid-state-recrystallization (SSR) technique for MCT growth, depositing and thinning MCT on sapphire substrates and oxide passivation. In 1979, after successful development of an own MCT-technology base, AEG-Telefunken entered into a license agreement with Texas Instruments for US Common Module (CM) technology in order to speed up the entry into full scale production with a transfer of MCT-material, dewar and cooler processes. CMs are still manufactured in small numbers. At the same time, a proprietary pc-MCT technology, independent of the CM production line, was developed and continuously matured and is today successfully applied in various custom designs like detectors for smart ammunition, for commercial and space applications. In 1982 started the development of 2nd Gen. photovoltaic MCT detectors, based on liquid-phase-epitaxy (LPE) in tilting and dipping technique and on planar array technology with Hg-Diffusion and ion implantation for pn-junction formation and CdTe/ZnS passivation. Linear MCT arrays in the 8-10,5 μm wavelength range with state of the art electro-optical performance have rapidly been demonstrated. Within the frame of the European anti-tank program TRIGAT, a two-way know-how-transfer between AEGTelefunken and SOFRADIR was established for linear LW MCT array processing, flip-chip-technology and dewar technology. Today, AIM's 2nd Gen. portfolio is based on MCT-LPE in dipping technique on CdZnTe substrates, characterized by a very low defect and dislocation density for 0,9 μm to 15μm wavelength application. Array processing is performed by planar technique, Boron ion implantation, CdTe/ZnS passivation and intrinsic or extrinsic doping, respectively. Infrared systems with AIM's linear and 2-dim. Focal-Phase-Arrays are used in many state of the art programs in Germany and internationally for surveillance and targeting, seeker head systems or for spaceborne applications like e.g. hyperspectral imaging. AIM's current MCT developments include for example MW/LW-MBE-MCT layers and array processing for 3rd Gen. detectors, avalanche NIR-MCT photodiodes for low background application, MBE on 4" alternative substrates and 2- dim. arrays with very long 15μm cut-off for space-based application to meet the future demands of IR-systems.
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W. Cabanski and J. Ziegler "HgCdTe technology in Germany: the past, the present, and the future", Proc. SPIE 7298, Infrared Technology and Applications XXXV, 72982O (7 May 2009);

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