Negative electron affinity (NEA) photocathodes have attracted a lot of interest over the last two decades due to their high quantum efficiency and low dark emission, which are desirable for night vision and other low-light applications. Recently, gradient-doping technique has shown promise to significantly improve the quantum yield of GaAs/AlGaAs heterojunction photocathodes by assisting electron diffusion toward the surface. In the present work, femtosecond pumpprobe transient reflectivity measurement has been used to study the ultrafast carrier dynamics in NEA GaAs/AlGaAs photocathodes. The research focuses on the comparison between a traditional, uniform-doped structure (1.7 μm p-GaAs (1×10<sup>19</sup> cm<sup>-3</sup>) / 0.7 μm p-Al<sub>0.57</sub>Ga<sub>0.43</sub>As (3×10<sup>18</sup> cm<sup>-3</sup>) / si-GaAs substrate) and a gradient-doped structure (0.1 μm pGaAs (1×10<sup>18</sup> cm<sup>-3</sup>) / 1.2 μm p-Al<sub>0.63</sub>Ga<sub>0.37</sub>As (doping level gradually changes from 1×10<sup>18</sup> cm<sup>-3</sup> to 1×10<sup>19</sup> cm<sup>-3</sup>) / 0.5 μm p-GaAlAs (1×10<sup>19</sup> cm<sup>-3</sup>) / si-GaAs substrate). Our result indicates that gradient doping not only leads to more efficient electron transportation but also results in better electron accumulation (i.e. higher concentration and longer lifetime) near device surface, a feature well-suited for photocathodes. Moreover, we have shown that pump-probe transient reflectivity measurement is able to offer a direct picture of electron diffusion inside NEA photocathodes, which can be of significant importance to device development.
II-VI colloidal quantum dots (QDs) are ideal for optical sensors thanks to their high fluorescent brightness and good size uniformity. However, embedding colloidal QDs into a glass matrix with the standard sol-gel process leads to the QDs being damaged by the acid catalyst. Here, we report an acid-free sol-gel technique, which proves to be both simple and effective in fabricating silica glass thin films embedded with commercial II-VI colloidal QDs. Octadecylamine ligands are used as a bifunctional aid to not only stabilize the QDs in solution, but also assist the formation of the SiO2 gel. We demonstrate that high-quality QD-embedded glass thin films can be developed with this technique, and our fluorescent tests indicate that, except for a small blueshift in the emission spectrum, the QDs are very well preserved through the sol-gel process. This method offers a fast and low-cost path towards thin-film QD sensors with good mechanical and thermal stabilities, which are desirable for applications involving highly focused laser beams, such as ultrafast nanophotonics.