We present our most recent results and review our progress over the past few years regarding InAs/GaSb Type II superlattices for photovoltaic detectors and focal plane arrays. Empirical tight binding methods have been proven to be very effective and accurate in designing superlattices for various cutoff wavelengths from 3.7 μm up to 32 μm. Excellent agreement between theoretical calculations and experimental results has been obtained. High quality material growths were performed using an Intevac modular Gen II molecular beam epitaxy system. The material quality was characterized using x-ray, atomic force microscopy, transmission electron microscope and photoluminescence, etc. Detector performance confirmed high material electrical quality. Details of the demonstration of 256×256 long wavelength infrared focal plane arrays will be presented.
Dark current has become a significant limiting factor for the development of the Type II InAs/GaSb superlattices technology. Experimental results showed that at liquid nitrogen temperature the dominating dark current under reverse bias is the generation-recombination current before the tunneling current turns on. Recent research on the source of the dark current indicated that the Auger recombinations might play a very important role in the superlattice diode dark current. With proper design of the superlattice structure, we have been able to reduce the dark current several orders of magnitude in the LWIR range. The superlattice diode performance was also improved dramatically. Infrared focal plane arrays based on these superlattices will also be discussed.
The absorption or emission wavelength in optoelectronic devices such as quantum well infrared photodetectors, quantum cascade lasers, and type II superlattice photodiodes can be controlled by the thickness and composition of the quantum wells that constitute their active layers. By further confining the charge carriers, for instance in a quantum dot, even more control can be gained over energy transitions within the semiconductor crystal. We propose a method for manipulating the semiconductor band structure by confining carriers within nanopillar structures. Using electron beam lithography and dry plasma etching, we can precisely control the pillar placement, density and dimensions, and thus the performance characteristics, of the optoelectronic device. Furthermore, by patterning different size structures, it is possible to create arrays of multi-color devices on the same substrate, a technique that lends itself to large-scale monolithic integration. We demonstrate the fabrication of nanopillar arrays in the GaSb, GaInP, GaInAs, and type II InAs/GaSb superlattice material systems and show initial photoluminescence data, which seems to indicate quantum confinement within these structures.