21 October 2016 High sensitivity InAs photodiodes for mid-infrared detection
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Abstract
Sensitive detection of mid-infrared light (2 to 5 μm wavelengths) is crucial to a wide range of applications. Many of the applications require high-sensitivity photodiodes, or even avalanche photodiodes (APDs), with the latter generally accepted as more desirable to provide higher sensitivity when the optical signal is very weak. Using the semiconductor InAs, whose bandgap is 0.35 eV at room temperature (corresponding to a cut-off wavelength of 3.5 μm), Sheffield has developed high-sensitivity APDs for mid-infrared detection for one such application, satellite-based greenhouse gases monitoring at 2.0 μm wavelength. With responsivity of 1.36 A/W at unity gain at 2.0 μm wavelength (84 % quantum efficiency), increasing to 13.6 A/W (avalanche gain of 10) at -10V, our InAs APDs meet most of the key requirements from the greenhouse gas monitoring application, when cooled to 180 K. In the past few years, efforts were also made to develop planar InAs APDs, which are expected to offer greater robustness and manufacturability than mesa APDs previously employed. Planar InAs photodiodes are reported with reasonable responsivity (0.45 A/W for 1550 nm wavelength) and planar InAs APDs exhibited avalanche gain as high as 330 at 200 K. These developments indicate that InAs photodiodes and APDs are maturing, gradually realising their potential indicated by early demonstrations which were first reported nearly a decade ago.
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Jo Shien Ng, Xinxin Zhou, Akeel Auckloo, Benjamin White, Shiyong Zhang, Andrey Krysa, John P. R. David, Chee Hing Tan, "High sensitivity InAs photodiodes for mid-infrared detection", Proc. SPIE 9988, Electro-Optical Remote Sensing X, 99880K (21 October 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2243146; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2243146
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