This article describes new imaging capabilities and technologies developed for infrared focal plane arrays (FPAs) at SCD. One of the new technologies is the patterning of the back surface of the FPA, whose front surface is bonded to a silicon readout integrated circuit (ROIC). Another is the hybridization of a spectral filter to the same back surface.
Increased image resolution has been achieved by using an opaque mask on the backside of the FPA with small central apertures. The reduced fill factor of the sensor leads to lower crosstalk between neighboring pixels and a higher Nyquist frequency. A highly detailed multi-mega pixel image is obtained when the sensor is micro-scanned relative to the imaging optics.
Spectral filtering was achieved by hybridization of a designated filter to the backside of the FPA. The filter was glued to the FPA with high accuracy achieving single pixel resolution. System implementation of these SWIR sensor cameras has been demonstrated at imec and is reported in this paper.
First results are reported for a continuously varying monolithic filter deposited onto the FPA, which has a high spectral dispersion. We report electro-optical measurements on several different sensors and describe some of their key parameters.
Shrinking the pixel size in advanced infrared Focal Plane Array (FPA) detectors allows either a reduction in the system size for the same number of pixels, or an increase in the pixel count for the same focal plane area. Smaller pitch and increased pixel count enables new applications such as long range surveillance, advanced Search and Track, missile warning, persistent surveillance, and infrared spectroscopy. In the last two decades SCD has followed this path of reducing the pixel size in InSb detectors for Mid-Wave Infrared (MWIR) applications, developing and manufacturing FPAs from 30μm down to 10μm pitch. The Blackbird InSb detector with 1920×1536/10μm format was introduced in 2013. Modern electro-optical systems are also designed towards a more compact, low power, and lower cost solution compared with traditional systems. In order to meet these requirements, detectors are being developed to work at Higher Operating Temperatures (HOT). In the last few years SCD has introduced 15μm pitch MWIR detectors based on the novel XBn-InAsSb technology, which enables outstanding electro-optical performance at temperatures as high as 150K. Two XBn FPA formats were developed and are now in production: 640×512/15μm and 1280×1024/15μm. Following the above trends, SCD is currently developing a 10μm XBn pixel, designed to operate at 150K with performance similar to the mature 15μm pixel. In this paper we present results from XBn FPA test devices, where the XBn array is flip-chip bonded to a Readout Integrated Circuit (ROIC) with a 10μm pitch. Test measurements in a laboratory Dewar at 150K demonstrate dark currents of 250fA, quantum efficiency greater than 70%, pixel operability of higher than 99.5%, and excellent array uniformity.
SCD has developed a range of advanced infrared detectors based on III-V semiconductor heterostructures grown on GaSb. The XBn/XBp family of barrier detectors enables diffusion limited dark currents, comparable with MCT Rule-07, and high quantum efficiencies. This work describes some of the technical challenges that were overcome, and the ultimate performance that was finally achieved, for SCD’s new 15 μm pitch “Pelican-D LW” type II superlattice (T2SL) XBp array detector. This detector is the first of SCD's line of high performance two dimensional arrays working in the LWIR spectral range, and was designed with a ~9.3 micron cut-off wavelength and a format of 640 x 512 pixels. It contains InAs/GaSb and InAs/AlSb T2SLs, engineered using k • p modeling of the energy bands and photo-response. The wafers are grown by molecular beam epitaxy and are fabricated into Focal Plane Array (FPA) detectors using standard FPA processes, including wet and dry etching, indium bump hybridization, under-fill, and back-side polishing. The FPA has a quantum efficiency of nearly 50%, and operates at 77 K and F/2.7 with background limited performance. The pixel operability of the FPA is above 99% and it exhibits a stable residual non uniformity (RNU) of better than 0.04% of the dynamic range. The FPA uses a new digital read-out integrated circuit (ROIC), and the complete detector closely follows the interfaces of SCD’s MWIR Pelican-D detector. The Pelican- D LW detector is now in the final stages of qualification and transfer to production, with first prototypes already integrated into new electro-optical systems.
When incorporated into the active layer of a "XBp" detector structure, Type II InAs/GaSb superlattices (T2SLs) offer a high quantum efficiency (QE) and a low diffusion limited dark current, close to MCT Rule 07. Using a simulation tool that was developed to predict the QE as a function of the T2SL period dimensions and active layer stack thickness, we have designed and fabricated a new focal plane array (FPA) T2SL XBp detector. The detector goes by the name of "Pelican-D LW", and has a format of 640 ×512 pixels with a pitch of 15 μm. The FPA has a QE of 50% (one pass), a cut-off of ~9.5 μm, and operates at 77K with a high operability, background limited performance and good stability. It uses a new digital read-out integrated circuit, and the integrated detector cooler assembly (IDCA) closely follows the configuration of SCD’s Pelican-D MWIR detector.
InAs/GaSb Type II superlattices (T2SLs) are a promising III-V alternative to HgCdTe (MCT) for infrared Focal Plane Array (FPA) detectors. Over the past few years SCD has developed the modeling, growth, processing and characterization of high performance InAs/GaSb T2SL detector structures suitable for FPA fabrication. Our LWIR structures are based on an XBpp design, analogous to the XBnn design that lead to the recent launch of SCD’s InAsSb HOT MWIR detector (TOP= 150 K). The T2SL XBpp structures have a cut-off wavelength between 9.0 and 10.0 μm and are diffusion limited with a dark current at 78K that is within one order of magnitude of the MCT Rule 07 value. We demonstrate 30 μm pitch 5 × 5 test arrays with 100% operability and with a dark current activation energy that closely matches the bandgap energy measured by photoluminescence at 10 K. From the dependence of the dark current and photocurrent on mesa size we are able to determine the lateral diffusion length and quantum efficiency (QE). The QE agrees very well with the value predicted by our recently developed k · p model [Livneh et al, Phys. Rev. B86, 235311 (2012)]. The model includes a number of innovations that provide a faithful match between measured and predicted InAs/GaSb T2SL bandgaps from MWIR to LWIR, and which also allow us to treat other potential candidate systems such as the gallium free InAs/InAsSb T2SL. We will present a critical comparison of InAs/InAsSb vs. InAs/GaSb T2SLs for LWIR FPA applications.
Over the past few years, a new type of High Operating Temperature (HOT) photon detector has been developed at SCD, which operates in the blue part of the MWIR atmospheric window (3.4 - 4.2 μm). This window is generally more transparent than the red part of the MWIR window (4.4 - 4.9 μm), and thus is especially useful for mid and long range applications. The detector has an InAsSb active layer and is based on the new "XBn" device concept, which eliminates Generation-Recombination dark current and enables operation at temperatures of 150K or higher, while maintaining excellent image quality. Such high operating temperatures reduce the cooling requirements of Focal Plane Array (FPA) detectors dramatically, and allow the use of a smaller closed-cycle Stirling cooler. As a result, the complete Integrated Detector Cooler Assembly (IDCA) has about 60% lower power consumption and a much longer lifetime compared with IDCAs based on standard InSb detectors and coolers operating at 77K. In this work we present a new large format IDCA designed for 150K operation. The 15 μm pitch 1280×1024 FPA is based on SCD's XBn technology and digital Hercules ROIC. The FPA is housed in a robust Dewar and is integrated with Ricor's K508N Stirling cryo-cooler. The IDCA has a weight of ~750 gram and its power consumption is ~ 5.5 W at a frame rate of 100Hz. The Mean Time to Failure (MTTF) of the IDCA is more than 20,000 hours, greatly facilitating 24/7 operation.
SCD has developed a new 1920x1536 / 10 μm digital Infrared detector for the MWIR window named Blackbird. The
Blackbird detector features a Focal Plane Array (FPA) that incorporates two technological building blocks developed
over the past few years. The first one is a 10 μm InSb pixel based on the matured planar technology. The second building
block is an innovative 10 μm ReadOut Integrated Circuit (ROIC) pixel. The InSb and the ROIC arrays are connected
using Flip-Chip technology by means of indium bumps. The digital ROIC consists a matrix of 1920x1536 pixels and has
an analog to digital (A/D) converter per-channel (total of 1920x2 A/Ds). It allows for full frame readout at a high frame
rate of up to 120 Hz. Such an on-chip A/D conversion eliminates the need for several A/D converters with fairly high
power consumption at the system level. The ROIC power consumption at maximum bandwidth is less than 400 mW. It
features a wide range of pixel-level functionality such as several conversion gain options and a 2x2 pixel binning. The
ROIC design makes use of the advanced and matured CMOS technology, 0.18 μm, which allows for high functionality
and relatively low power consumption. The FPA is mounted on a Cold-Finger by a specially designed ceramic substrate.
The whole assembly is housed in a stiffened Dewar that withstands harsh environmental conditions while minimizing the
environment heat load contribution to the heat load of the detector. The design enables a 3-megapixel detector with
overall low size, weight, and power (SWaP) with respect to comparable large format detectors. In this work we present
in detail the characteristic performance of the new Blackbird detector.
A new pyroelectric polar nanocomposite thin film is presented. A dense array of aluminium oxide cylindrical nanopores
is used as a template to grow pyroelectric nano-crystals of TriGlycine Sulfate (TGS). The crystals are grown inside
nanopores having an average diameter of 14±4nm and a length of 0.5 micron. The crystals are grown with a preferred
crystallographic orientation having their polar axis  aligned in vertical to the film plane. The pyroelectric response
at different temperatures is measured using the dynamic method. The dielectric characterization reveals resistivity of
about 1E-9 ohm-m, dielectric loss (tan(δ)) of about 0.03, and relative dielectric permittivity of about 10 at room
temperature which increases to a maximum value at the ferroelectric-paraelectric phase transition. The pyroelectric
coefficient of the film is about 3.5 μC/m2K and the pyroelectric voltage figure of merit is about 40 kVm-1K -1.