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1 May 1997 Micro-optic integration with focal plane arrays
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The large detector size of conventional focal plane arrays (FPAs) often acts as a limiting source of noise currents and requires these devices to run at undesirably low temperatures. To reduce the detector size without reducing the detector’s quantum efficiency (QE), we have developed efficient on-focal-plane collection optics consisting of arrays of thin-film binary-optics microlenses and photoresist-based refractive microlenses on the back surface of hybrid detector array structures. Photodiodes of p/n polarity, of an unusual planar-mesa geometry, were fabricated in epitaxial HgCdTe deposited by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) on the front side of a CdZnTe substrate. Diffractive (8- to 16-phase-level) Ge microlenses were deposited on 48-µm centers in a registered fashion (using an IR mask aligner and appropriate marks on the front surface of the CdZnTe) on the back side of the substrate using a lifting process. The lifting circumvents some of the process limitations of the more conventional chemical etching methods on diffractivemicrolens processing, allowing the microlenses to approach more closely their theoretical efficiency limit of .95%. Photoresist microlenses were fabricated by reflow of photolithographically defined photoresist islands. Prior to microlens deposition, but after diode fabrication, the test structures were flip-chip bonded or ‘‘hybridized’’ using indium interconnections to metallic striplines that had been photolithographically deposited on sapphire dice (a process equally compatible with a siliconintegrated- circuit readout). After hybridization, the CdZnTe was thinned to equal the focal length of the lenses in the CdZnTe material. Optical characterization has demonstrated that the microlenses combined with the detector mesas concentrate light sufficiently to increase the effective collection area. The optical size of the mesa detectors being larger than the theoretical diffraction limit of the microlenses precludes determining whether the lenses themselves produce the theoretical diffraction-limited gain, but they clearly decrease the required detector area by at least 3 to 6 times. To our knowledge, this is the first successful demonstration of IR detectors and binary optics and of photoresist refractive-microlens integration.
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