Laser-based stand-off sensing of threat agents (e.g. explosives, toxic industrial chemicals or chemical warfare agents), by detection of distinct infrared spectral absorption signature of these materials, has made significant advances recently. This is due in part to the availability of infrared and terahertz laser sources with significantly improved power and tunability. However, there is a pressing need for a versatile, high performance infrared sensor that can complement and enhance the recent advances achieved in laser technology. This work presents new, high performance infrared detectors based on III-V barrier diodes. Unipolar barrier diodes, such as the nBn, have been very successful in the MWIR using InAs(Sb)-based materials, and in the MWIR and LWIR using type-II InAsSb/InAs superlattice-based materials. This work addresses the extension of the barrier diode architecture into the SWIR region, using GaSb-based and InAs-based materials. The program has resulted in detectors with unmatched performance in the 2-3 μm spectral range. Temperature dependent characterization has shown dark currents to be diffusion limited and equal to, or within a factor of 5, of the Rule 07 expression for Auger-limited HgCdTe detectors. Furthermore, D* values are superior to those of existing detectors in the 2-3 μm band. Of particular significance to spectroscopic sensing systems is the ability to have near-background limited performance at operation temperatures compatible with robust and reliable solid state thermoelectric coolers.