Conversion of plane waves to surface waves prior to detection allows key advantages in changes to the architecture of the detector pixels in a focal plane array. We have integrated subwavelength patterned metal nanoantennas with various detector materials to incorporate these advantages: midwave infrared indium gallium arsenide antimonide detectors and longwave infrared graphene detectors.
Nanoantennas offer a means to make infrared detectors much thinner by converting incoming plane waves to more tightly bound and concentrated surface waves. Thinner architectures reduce both dark current and crosstalk for improved performance. For graphene detectors, which are only one or two atomic layers thick, such field concentration is a necessity for usable device performance, as single pass plane wave absorption is insufficient. Using III-V detector material, we reduced thickness by over an order of magnitude compared to traditional devices.
We will discuss Sandia’s motivation for these devices, which go beyond simple improvement in traditional performance metrics. The simulation methodology and design rules will be discussed in detail. We will also offer an overview of the fabrication processes required to make these subwavelength structures on at times complex underlying devices based on III-V detector material or graphene on silicon or silicon carbide. Finally, we will present our latest infrared detector characterization results for both III-V and graphene structures.