Corrugated Quantum Well Infrared Photodetectors and Arrays
ARMY RESEARCH LAB ADELPHI MD
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Quantum well infrared photodetectors QWIPs have many advantages in infrared detection, mainly due to the mature Ill-V material technology. The employment of the corrugation structure further advances the technology by providing a simple, yet efficient light-coupling scheme. A C-QWIP enjoys the same flexibility as a detector with intrinsic normal incident absorption. In this paper, we will discuss the utilities of C-QWIPs in different applications, including two-color detection and polarization-sensitive detection. Besides practical applications, C-QWIPs are also useful in detector characterization. They can be used for measuring the absorption coefficient of light propagating parallel to the layers under bias and providing information on the energy resolved photoconductive gain. These two quantities have never been measured before. Based on the corrugation design, we have made several modifications that further improve the detector sensitivity without increasing its complexity. Other than the C-QWIP structure, we also continue searching for other sensitive detector architectures. In a quantum grid infrared photodetector, 3-dimensional electron confinement can be achieved, with which the detector is able to absorb light in all directions. At the same time, the photoconductive gain can also be improved. We further improve the design using a blazed structure. All the experimental results are supported by a rigorous electromagnetic modal transmission-line theory developed especially for these types of structures. Preliminary thermal imaging using C-QWIP FPAs validates the advantages of the present approach.
- Optical Detection and Detectors