19 May 2015 Irradiation effects of graphene-enhanced gallium nitride (GaN) metal-semiconductor-metal (MSM) ultraviolet photodetectors
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Ultraviolet (UV) photodetectors are used for applications such as flame detection, space navigation, biomedical and environmental monitoring. Robust operation within large ranges of temperatures, radiation, salinity and/or corrosive chemicals require sensor materials with the ability to withstand and function reliably within these extreme harsh environments. For example, spacecraft can utilize a sun sensor (light-based sensor) to assist with determination of orientation and may be exposed to both ionizing radiation and extreme temperature swings during operation. Gallium nitride (GaN), a wide bandgap semiconductor material, has material properties enabling visible-blindness, tunable cutoff wavelength selection based on ternary alloy mole fraction, high current density, thermal/chemical stability and high radiation tolerance due to the strength of the chemical bond. Graphene, with outstanding electrical, optical and mechanical properties and a flat absorption spectrum from 300 to 2,500 nm, has potential use as a transparent conductor for GaN-based metal-semiconductor-metal (MSM) photodetectors. Here, graphene-enhanced MSM UV photodetectors are fabricated with transparent and conductive graphene interdigitated electrodes on thin film GaN-on-sapphire substrates serving as back-to-back Schottky contacts. We report on the irradiation response of graphene/GaN-based MSM UV photodetectors up to 750 krad total ionizing dose (TID) then tested under dark and UV light (365 nm) conditions. In addition, based on current-voltage measurements from 75 krad to 750 krad TID, calculated photodetector responsivity values change slightly by 25% and 11% at -5 V and -2 V, respectively. These initial findings suggest that graphene/GaN MSM UV photodetectors could potentially be engineered to reliably operate within radiation environments.
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Heather C. Chiamori, Ruth Miller, Ateeq Suria, Nicholas Broad, Debbie G. Senesky, "Irradiation effects of graphene-enhanced gallium nitride (GaN) metal-semiconductor-metal (MSM) ultraviolet photodetectors", Proc. SPIE 9491, Sensors for Extreme Harsh Environments II, 949107 (19 May 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2178091; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2178091

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