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Type-II superlattice photodetectors versus HgCdTe photodiodes
Progress in Quantum Electronics  (IF12.25),  Pub Date : 2019-11-01, DOI: 10.1016/j.pquantelec.2019.100228
A. Rogalski, P. Martyniuk, M. Kopytko

Abstract The development of the HgCdTe alloy as the most important intrinsic semiconductor for infrared (IR) technology is well established and recognized. In spite of the achievements in material and device quality, the drawbacks still exist due to bulk and surface instability, lower yields and higher costs particularly in fabrication of long wavelength infrared arrays. The difficulties with this material encouraged to research on other compounds to improve device performance. Since the first paper published by Sakaki and Esaki in 1978 it is well known that InAs and GaSb constitute a nearly lattice-matched material system offering great flexibility in the design of IR optoelectronic devices. After four decades, the III-V type-II superlattice (T2SL) detector technology is under strong development as a possible alternative to HgCdTe. The novel ideas coming in design of detectors have enhanced the position of T2SLs in IR materials detector technology. It appears that T2SLs are especially helpful in the design of unipolar barriers. In this paper fundamental physical properties of two material systems, HgCdTe and T2SLs, are compared together with their influence on detector performance: dark current density, RA product, quantum efficiency, and noise equivalent different temperature. In comparison with HgCdTe, fundamental properties of T2SLs are inferior. On the other hand, T2SL and barrier detectors have several advantages to include lower tunnelling and surface leakage currents, and suppressed Auger recombination mechanism. Up to date, the promise of superior performance of these detectors has not been realized yet. In the paper we present that the performance of T2SL detectors (dark current, current responsivity, and noise equivalent difference temperature) is lower than bulk HgCdTe photodiodes. Due to stronger, less ionic chemical bonding of III-V semiconductors, these materials are attractive due to manufacturability and stability. It is also predicted that the interband T2SL quantum cascade devices will outperform the performance of the high operating temperature HgCdTe detectors.