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20 May 2011 Electro-optical characteristics of a MWIR and LWIR planar hetero-structure P+n HgCdTe photodiodes limited by intrinsic carrier recombination processes
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Reported is a detailed analysis of the dark current versus voltage versus temperature data of planar hetero-structure P+n mid wavelength infrared MWIR photodiodes with band gap energy Eg(78K) = 0.243 eV, λg= 5.1 μm and long wavelength infrared LWIR photodiodes with Eg(78K) = 0.115 eV, λg= 10.8 μm. The purpose of the investigations is to identify the dominant carrier recombination mechanisms and in particular to determine at what temperature and voltage is the onset of Shockley Read Hall (SRH) space charge currents. The important finding is that the currents can mostly be explained by a combination of Auger (e-e) and radiative carrier recombination processes with no evidence of SRH recombination through near mid-gap states; a lower bound estimate of the SRH lifetime for LWIR photodiode is 100 μs. Intrinsic radiative recombination is found to be the dominant carrier recombination mechanisms for the MWIR photodiode with a carrier concentration Nd=1015 cm-3, and Auger (e-e) being dominant for the LWIR photodiode. The LWIR Auger (e-e) lifetime data is well fitted with the Beattie, Landsberg and Blakemore (BLB) formulas with a constant overlap integral F1F2= 0.15, which is in accord with recent electronic band structure calculations. From the analysis of variable area LWIR photodiodes the minority carrier conductivity mobility and diffusion length at 80K are calculated to be 350 cm2/V-s and 23 μm respectively. The LWIR lifetime measured by the photoconductive decay method is in agreement with the expected intrinsic Auger (e-e) lifetime ≈ 2 μs at 80K and with the lifetimes obtained from device analysis. For T ≤ 40K, trap assisted tunneling is the dominant current in reversed bias LWIR photodiodes; forward bias currents are dominated by diffusion currents of origin in the n- layer. For the MWIR photodiode deviation from diffusion limited behavior to G-R is observed at T < 80K and, the SRH lifetimes ιn0 and ιp0 are estimated to be 50 ms. Measured and calculated external quantum efficiencies at the peak responsivity wavelength λpk for both MWIR and LWIR photodiodes are ≈ 70% at 78K. For imaging in the 3-5 μm spectral band scene temperature 300K, F/3 optics, the noise equivalent temperature difference NE▵T of MWIR photodiodes is calculated to be near background limited performance BLIP =12.4 mK for detector temperatures Td ≤ 150K.
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R. DeWames, P. Maloney, C. Billman, and J. Pellegrino "Electro-optical characteristics of a MWIR and LWIR planar hetero-structure P+n HgCdTe photodiodes limited by intrinsic carrier recombination processes", Proc. SPIE 8012, Infrared Technology and Applications XXXVII, 801239 (20 May 2011);

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