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1. Photodetectors 2. Infrared Photodetectors 3. QDIP
1. Photodetectors 1.1 Definition
It is an essential component of any optical communication system where optical signal into an electrical signal to be subsequently by the receiver electronics.
Figure 1.1: Front end photoreceiver
Main performance criteria for good photodetectors
1) High sensitivity at the operating wavelength. 2) High fidelity. 3) Large optical to electrical conversion efficiency. 4) Fast response. 5) Large SNR at the output. 6) High reliability. 7) Stability 8) Compatibility.
Parameters of photodetectors
1.3.1 Quantum efficiency The quantum efficiency is a measure of how many electron-hole pairs are created and then collected by the contacts to the external circuit per incident photon.
3.4 Conventional photodetectors Conventional photodetectors can be classified into two classes A) PD’s without internal gain 1.3.4 Gain The gain of the photodetector is defined as the ratio of the number of collected e-h pairs to the number of primary photogenerated pairs and it expresses the photodetector sensitivity at the operating wavelength. 1. 3. 1. 2. PN photodiode.4. 1. Schottky barrier PD. Sources of the noise are in the dark current.3. Photoconductors.An alternative figure-of-merit that may be used is responsivity (ℜ) that is defined as the ratio of the primary photocurrent (without internal gain) Iopt to the incident optical power Pi and ℜ is related to η as follows 1.5 Noise Noise is defined as the fluctuations of the electrical signal. leakage currents and shunt conductance and they must be minimized.3 Bandwidth The bandwidth is known as the “3-dB frequency” of a photodetector.1 PD’s without internal gain . PIN PD. 4. 2. is a measure of how fast the photodetector can respond to a series of light pulses. 1. Phototransistors.3. B) PD’s with internal gain 1. metal-semiconductor-metal PD. Avalanche PD (APDs).
4 Metal-Semiconductor-Metal PD .3 Schottky barrier PD (b) PIN PD Schottky barrier photodiodes are made of metal-semiconductor-metal rectifying junctions rather than PN semiconductor junctions.3: schottky barrier PD 1. This intrinsic layer may have a small residual n or p type background carrier concentration. The collection process for the generated carriers is therefore fast and efficient. The incident photons may be absorbed in both of the depletion and the diffusion regions.1.2(a).2 PIN PD The basic PIN-PD consists of three regions. heavily doped P+ and N+ layers and an intrinsic layer that is sandwiched between them.18.104.22.168: (a) PN photodiode 1.4. resulting in a very high bandwidth.4.1 PN photodiode A P-N photodiode is simply a P-N junction diode operating under a reverse bias as shown in figure 1. Figure 1. where the number of the generated electronhole (e-h) pairs is proportional to the optical power.4. Schottky photodiodes have narrow active layers compared to PIN-PD and hence the transit time of Schottky photodetectors is very small. The photon absorption takes place mainly in the intrinsic region that is depleted when reverse bias voltage is applied to its terminals. Figure 1.1. But this narrow active layer also results in poor quantum efficiency. 1.1.
1. Each set of electrodes forms a Schottky barrier contact with the semiconductor.5: (a) photoconductor 1.A basic MSM-PD uses a layer of semiconductor material that is sensitive to the wavelength of interest. The internal gain mechanism arises from the space charge neutrality.4.2.3 Avalanche PD (APDs) (b) phototransistor . On the top of this layer.4. the electrical conductivity increases because of the photo generated carriers. This excessive charge results in electrons injected from the emitter and the current gain mechanism is the same as in a BJT.4. Figure 1. but with only two terminals with electrical contacts to the collector and the emitter.2. the metal electrodes are deposited as interdigitated fingers to form back-to-back Schottky diodes with a suitable anti-reflection coating between them. and is connected to a large pad for connection to the external circuit.1 Photoconductors An absorptive semiconductor layer together with two electrical terminals. Figure 1.4.2. The photogenerated holes in the absorption region accumulate in the base.2 Phototransistors It is similar to a bipolar transistor. Under illumination.4: MSM PD 1. The base and the base-collector junction are used as the absorption layer.2 PD’s with internal gain 1.
Figure 1. resulting in multiplication of the number of electrons in the conduction band. The electromagnetic spectrum. is shown in Figure 2. Figure 2. APDs are operated under a sufficiently high reverse voltage to generate highly energized e-h pairs.6: APD 2. The APD’s internal gain is realized by the avalanche multiplication process that is achieved through impact ionization.1 Infrared radiation Infrared radiation is simply a region of the electromagnetic spectrum. The IR portion of the electromagnetic spectrum extends in wavelength above that detectable by the human eye (~700 nm) to 1 mm.1. with an expanded view of the infrared region.The avalanche photodetectors (APDs) are the most important photodetectors with internal gain that have been widely used in optical communication systems.1 : EM spectrum . or microwave radiation. Infrared radiations systems 2. the high energy electrons initially scatters with an electron in the valence band and knocks it out into the conduction band. Under a high electric field in the conduction band. ultraviolet. It differs only in wavelength or frequency from other well-known regions of the electromagnetic spectrum such as visible.
Today. A blackbody radiation versus temperature plot is shown in Figure 2. the faster the frequency of the atoms oscillations and therefore the higher the frequency of radiation emitted by the object.2. the hotter the object. it is understood that every object emits radiation proportional to its temperature because of atomic oscillations. This initiated the development of quantum physics.2: blackbody radiation versus temperature . but rather has discrete values or quanta. Later it was discovered experimentally. The consequence of Planck’s Law was that energy is not continuous. Figure 2. Most simply. It is the relationship between temperature and the distribution of emission wavelength that was first accurately described empirically by Planck in 1900. that every object emits radiation with a range of wavelengths that depend on the temperature of the object.The infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum was discovered by English astronomer Sir William Herschel in 18003 by using a thermometer to measure the temperature difference between areas of light separated by a prism.
2 Applications of Infrared Systems Referring back to Figure 2. based on the facts that many kinds of malfunctions and abnormal situations can change the blood flow pattern in the tissues which leads to a change in their temperature characteristics. thermal imaging has provided a relatively reliable and safe method for early diagnosis of breast cancer. Infrared thermal imaging has found many industrial applications especially in nondestructive testing and inspection techniques8. Both of these applications take advantage of the two infrared atmospheric transmission windows: between 3-5 μm and 8-12 μm. infrared light can propagate with very little attenuation. thereby requiring only a small amount of power to travel a long distance. it is apparent that all but the hottest objects have peak emission wavelengths in the infrared. Infrared spectroscopy is also widely used in many industries for continuous monitoring of chemical quality and process control. Therefore. using an infrared laser beam to jam the seeker of a missile by actively reading its chopper signal and tuning the jamming laser beam to the chopper pattern. One Example of such systems is smart bombs. which follow the infrared reflection of the target illuminated by an infrared laser tracking system. . This technique has been successfully used for the detection of hidden cracks under the airport runways and detection of knots in the wood industry. In the atmospheric transmission windows. military.2. A number of these applications are described in detail to provide background for the operating characteristics required by each application. Several new military applications are using coupled infrared detectors and emitters. dental and thyroid diseases. and medical. This is one reason infrared lasers and detectors have countless numbers of applications.2. Another example is the infrared active countermeasure systems. Applications using infrared lasers and detectors can be classified into three groups of users having different requirements: industrial. Fast and easy detection of hidden cracks and nonuniformity is one of the examples of this technique which is based on the change of thermal resistance of the fractured area. Infrared detectors have also found many medical applications. The heat signature of the fighter planes and missiles has made the infrared seeker one of the best choices for the target detection systems.
This is shown with material system used in Table 2. and free space communication. In the first type.1. there are two types of intrinsic photodetectors: photoconductors and photodiodes. and intrinsic intersubband. MWIR and LWIR Semiconductor photodetectors Extrinsic Type-II QWIP Si:In GaSb/AlSb/InAs In(Ga)As/GaAs Ge:Cu or In(Ga)As/GaInP/InP Intrinsic Interband IV-Vi (PbSnTe) II-VI (HgCdTe) III-V (Sbbased) QDIP In(Ga)As/GaAs or In(Ga)As/InP 2.Several new noninvasive techniques have been developed in recent years due to the rapid improvement of the infrared detectors and emitters. The optically generated electron-hole pairs can make an electrical signal if one applies an electrical field to sweep them to the electrodes of the device. narrow gap semiconductors are of particular interest for infrared detection since the longest wavelength that the material can absorb is inversely proportional to its bandgap.3 Types of Semiconductor Infrared Photodetectors Infrared semiconductor Photodetectors can be divided into four categories: intrinsic interband. type-II.3. extrinsic. the voltage bias of a thin layer of the narrow gap semiconductor can attract the excess electrons to the positive contact and the excess holes to the negative . Based on the origin of this electrical field. Therefore.1 Intrinsic Interband The optical absorption in this type of photodetector leads to an interband transition in which the electrons of the valance band of a semiconductor are excited to the conduction band. the low absorption rate in the atmospheric 3-5μm and 8-12μm windows makes the infrared detectors an attractive choice for many other applications such as range finding . The required energy for such transition is higher than the bandgap of the semiconductor. Non-invasive measurement of the oxygen level in the organs during surgery and blood sugar monitoring1are examples of these recently available methods. Besides these applications. remote sensing. 2. which are based on the infrared spectroscopy techniques.
even today the low uniformity and yields of about 10% are drawbacks of this technology. Specific examples of 0. the epitaxial growth techniques such as Liquid Phase Epitaxy (LPE). Compound semiconductors are of particular interest due to their direct gap and IV-VI. In a photodiode. by selecting the appropriate composition. and Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE) have provided crystals with lower native defects. so that it is possible.3.205 Tewith n=2-5×10 14 cm -3 which is passivated with native oxide and coated with a ZnS anti -reflection coating layer. II-VI. mid. however. In 1959 Lawson et al. reported that the alloy system Hg1-xCdxTe exhibited semiconductor behavior over a large range of its composition. The 77K detectivity reaches a value of about 10 12cm Hz 1/ 2/W at about . higher uniformity. 2. Device performance has approached the theoretical limits. The internal electrical field is due to the space-charge area of a p-n or p-i-n structure.795Cd0. PbSe.2 Intrinsic II-VI HgCdTe or MCT is perhaps the most developed material for infrared detectors. due to their lower thermal expansion coefficient and permittivity. The devices were fabricated from bulk Hg0.1 Intrinsic IV-VI The lead-chalcogenide materials (PbS. to obtain any required small energy gap. and abrupt heterojunction interfaces for HgCdTe heterojunction devices. The detectors made of these IV-VI material system show high quantum efficiency and detectivities of mid 1010 cm Hz 1/2/W at 77K at 10 μm. In the mid.1960s it was discovered at Lincoln Laboratories that PbTe and SnTe and also PbSe and SnSe form solid solutions in which the energy gap varies continuously through zero. Metal organic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD) . and III-V compound semiconductors are the commonly used material for infrared systems. The usual growth method for single crystal MCT is a modified Bridgman technique However.1eV lightly doped n-type Hg1-xCdxTe detectors have been developed intensively because of its application in the 8-12mm region. IIVI Mercury Cadmium Telluride (MCT) rapidly replaced the IV-VI material system.3. Narrow gap semiconductors are the key material system for intrinsic photodetectors. However. However. In less than ten years the intensive research on this material system led to high quality HgCdTe detectors in the entire short.1. 2. there is an internal electrical field that sweeps the generated electrons and holes to the electrodes. and long wavelength infrared range.1. PbTe) were one of the first used materials for infrared detectors.contact.
The device shows a considerably higher detectivity than the detectivity of conventional HgCdTe detectors at 10. High performance InSb infrared photodetectors on Si and GaAs substrates have been demonstrated that can operate from 77 K to room temperature. even narrower bandgap can be achieved with the ternary InAsxSb1-x. the excitation of the electron to the conduction band . Welker in 1952.3. The longest detectable wavelength for this type of detector is inversely proportional to the activation energy of the impurity. Recently new multi-heterojunction photovoltaic HgCdTe has been designed for near room temperature operation. High performance uncooled detectors have been demonstrated using AlInSb/InAsSb double heterostructures. The narrowest gap III-V binary is InSb whose semiconducting properties were first revealed by H.6 μm at 230 K. Near-BLIP performance can also be achieved at elevated temperatures. there is a new trend in InSb photodetector and FPA research.3 Intrinsic III-V III-V compound semiconductors are the most widely used compound semiconductors due to their lower permittivity and higher mechanical hardness over IV-VI and II-VI material systems. which is close to the theoretical background limited performance (BLIP). Such structures would take advantage of both the high quantum efficiency of narrow-gap semiconductors and advanced integrated circuit technologies thus providing a challenge for traditional hybrid technologies. reported by Ashley et.3. Currently very high quality Focal Plane Arrays (FPAs) of InSb with 1024x1024 resolution are available. Unfortunately. prevents its application for imaging systems.2 Extrinsic The optical absorption in this type of photon detector leads to the excitation of an electron from a n-type impurity level to the conduction band (or excitation of a hole from a p-type impurity level to the valance band). which has been known for more than 40 years. InSb films are directly grown on GaAs or GaAs-coated Si substrates. In this phenomenon. 2. al.1. Although InSb FPAs are highly developed.1 ev at room temperature which corresponds to 35% arsenic. The detectivity of these detectors are about 10 8 cm Hz1/2/W at 8 µm without any optical immersion or anti-reflection coating 2. At present.10 μm. commercially available 3-5mm photoconductors also exhibit BLIP performance. up to about 200K. the high 1/f noise of this structure. Due to the bandgap bowing. InSb arrays are the main competitor of HgCdTe for imaging systems below 5mm since it can provide higher uniformity and mechanical strength than HgCdTe. The minimum bandgap is about 0.
First is the complexity of the structure. this type of detector is similar to an intrinsic photoconductor and needs an external bias source. This value is about 5K for an arsenic doped silicon (Si:As) detector with 25mm optimum wavelength. The detecting wavelength of type-II detectors can be adjusted to a wide range. Efficient manufacturing and maintaining tolerances and uniformities on the order of the superlattice layer thickness has yet to be proven. Type-II detectors also have advantages of excellent carrier confinement. the detector should be operated at very low temperatures. . In order to prevent the thermal ionization of the impurities. Each layer in the superlattice is around tens of Anstrong thick and so the active region usually consists of approximately hundreds of layers. Such hole buildup at the positive contact leads to the photovoltaic effect. by simply changing the thickness of the layers. and the device can operate at zero bias mode.(or the hole to the valance band) leads to a higher free carrier concentration and hence higher conductivity. The operating temperature is proportional to the activation energy of the impurity or inversely proportional to the optimum wavelength of the detector. The disadvantages of these detectors are inherent in the structure. suppression of Auger loss. The band is blocked from one side with a low doping section. Therefore.3 Type-II Type-II structures allow the electronic band structure to be engineered by simply changing the thickness or composition of the constituent layers. Additionally. Extrinsic photovoltaic detectors have also been achieved using an impurity band.3. and large gain. 2. the Auger recombination rate and other losses can be reduced thus reducing the threshold current density and increasing the maximum operation temperature. so the optically generated holes in the impurity band cannot diffuse to the negative contact. the electron and hole wave functions do not overlap spatially and therefore the radiative recombination efficiency is reduced. Therefore. The device which is commonly known as Blocked Impurity Band (BIB) detector has a highly doped section which leads to the formation of an energy band.
Figure 2.2. New device designs for QDIPs are also required to further improve its performance as an infrared photodetector. except that the electrons are excited from a confined energy state rather than an impurity level.3: principle of QWIP operation . To justify its potential advantages. Many different detectors have been designed and realized based on these nanostructures. The process is very similar to an extrinsic photoconductor. however with much better predicted characteristics and performance. Higher temperature operation and lower dark current are also expected for this type of device.Quantum well infrared photodetectors are based on intersubband absorption by confined carriers in multiple quantum wells. however two of the most commonly used structures are Quantum Well Infrared Photodetectors (QWIP) and Quantum Dot Infrared Photodetectors (QDIP).4 Intersubband Although the benefits of low dimension semiconductor nanostructures such as quantum wells.3. The major challenges facing QDIPs are quantum dots growth. Given high uniformity and high density quantum dot layer. So far. QDIPs need high uniform and high density quantum dots layers. The overall principle of operation of QWIP is explained here. QDIPs are predicted to outperform QWIPs due to their inherent sensitivity to normal incidence radiation and reduced phonon scattering. they were only realized after the advancement of epitaxial growth techniques such as MBE and MOCVD. The operation of QDIP is very similar to QWIP. quantum wires and quantum dots were predicted decades ago. An extension of QWIPs is the quantum dot infrared photodetector (QDIP) which utilize intersubband absorption between bound states in the conduction/valence band in quantum dots. most of QDIPs reported showed inferior performance than that of QWIPs with similar parameters.
• VLWIR demonstrated using standard QWIP technology. • Excellent quantum efficiency • Very high detectivity • Bandgap can be adjusted to vary detection wavelength • Multi-color arrays demonstrated Disadvantages • Lower quantum efficiency.2 Advantages QWIP • Mature III-V growth technology. no unique steps. HgCdTe (MCT) InAs/GaSb type II superlattice QDIP • Wide wavelength coverage (2~50 μm) • Reduced Auger recombination rate for higher operation temperature • High detectivity • Normal incidence absorption • Single color imaging array demonstrated • Normal incidence absorption • High responsivity • High temperature operation • Lower dark current • Multi-color detection capability • Poor array operability and uniformity • Radiation-hard arrays are difficult due to narrow bandgap and defects in material • Low yield and high cost for large area arrays • Reproducibility is poor due to sensitivity of bandgap to material • Difficult material growth technique • Complex device structure • Difficulty with device passivation • Difficult to control quantum dot formation • difficult to achieve high uniform dot and high density • low quantum efficiency . • high R0A allows long integration Time. • Wide-bandgap material is better for radiation hard application. • Excellent array uniformity. • Requires lower sensor temperature than intrinsic detector for λ<12 μm. we sum up by comparison of current infrared photodetector technology given in Table 2. • Multi-color arrays demonstrated.Finally. • Normal incidence detection requires light coupling scheme like grating.
NQD is the maximum number of electrons which can occupy each QD. kB is the Boltzmann constant. T is the temperature. the main mechanism of the electron escape from QDs is related with their thermoemission and the transport of electrons across the QDIP active region is due to their drift. QDIP 3.1 QDIP parameters 3. K is the total number of QD layers inside a QDIP. In dark conditions. ΣD is the doping density of each QD layer. L is the width of QD layer. This dark current formula is derived by assuming not too low bias voltage so that eV is larger than ionization energy of the ground state in QDs. The dark current of realistic QDIP increases exponentially with increasing of applied bias as well as with increasing of doping level. ε is the dielectric constant of QD.1 Dark current The dark current is one of the most important aspects regarding performance optimization of QDIP device because it contributes to the detector noise and dictates the operating temperature. exceeding that in QWIPs with comparable parameters. . ΣQD is the density of QD.< N> is the average number of electron belonging to each QD layer. V is the bias voltage.3.1. It refers to the current flow through a QDIP under no illumination. The dark current of a QDIP has been discussed in the literature and can be expressed: 〈 〉 ( ) 〈 〉 〈 〉 √ √ √ √ Where where jm is the maximum current density which can be extracted from the emitter contact. The above dark current equation can also explain why the dark current of most real QDIP is fairly high.
Parameter B can be treated as the electron density induced in QDs by the applied bias.3. it can be seen that higher QD densities give larger photocurrent. aQD is the lateral characteristic size of one QD. The ratio of photocurrent to dark current can be written as: 〈 ( 〈 〉 ) 〉 ⁄ √ Where A is a constant. 3.1.1. the absorption spectra can be modeled with a Gaussian line shape and is express as: . From calculation of the ratio as a function of QD density Σ QD of QDIPs with different doping level. the photocurrent density of QDIP can be expressed as All parameters in this equation have the same definition as in dark current equation. From photocurrent density equation.3 Absolute absorption spectrum For QDIPs made with self-assembly technique. it can be seen that QDIPs with lower QD density exhibit significantly inferior performance as a photodetector.2 Photo current Similarly as the dark current.
n1 is the density of electrons in the QD ground state. hv is the energy of incident photons. η is the quantum efficiency. 3. σ QD and σ ens are standard deviations in the Gaussian line shape for intersubband absorption in a single QD and for the distribution in energies for the quantum dot ensemble.1. EG is the energy difference between ground and excited states in the QDs.( ) where A is the maximum absorption coefficient obtained from calculations presented in the literature. which is usually summarized in terms of Fermi’s Golden Rule: if any electron (hole) in a state i of energy Ei experiences a time-dependent perturbation ̃ which could scatter (transfer) it into any one of the final states f of energy Ef. Carrier transit time can be simply estimated of transportation from emitter to collector of device as: Where l is the distance from emitter to collector. τrecapture and τtransit are the recapture and transit time of the carriers in the conduction band.4 Responsivity The current responsivity of an intersubband detector can be expressed as: Where where g is the gain of the device. For QDs with non-uniform sizes (larger ratio σ ens / σ QD). it is shown that larger absorption coefficient comparable to a quantum well with similar peak can be achieved for a perfectly uniform QD ensemble. same absorption coefficient is reached with much higher QD density. V is the bias. τrecapture is determined by the quantum mechanical scattering process. then the lifetime (recapture time) of the carrier in state i is given ∑|⟨ | ̃ | ⟩| . The ratio of σ ens / σ QD represents the size non-uniformity of QDs. respectively. and μ is the carrier mobility. From calculations. It’s clear that control over QD size uniformity is necessary to provide acceptable absorption.
σ is the Stefan-Boltzmann constant. the noise mean square current can be expressed as: Where Δf is the bandwidth and Rd is the device differential resistance. and TBB is the temperature of blackbody. λ). 1/f noise is not a limiting factor of detector performance. The dark current noise is generation-recombination (G-R) in nature. Johnson noise (thermal noise) is due to the random motion of thermally excited carriers and is inherent to all conducting material.5 Noise There are several sources of noise in a QDIP detector: the 1/f noise. Johnson noise. Peak responsivity assumes the detector only receive light in only the wavelength where it is most sensitive. and r is the distance between aperture and the QDIP. The k is the correction factor due to the overlap of the relative spectral responsivity of the QDIP S(λ) and the blackbody spectra M (TBB.1. and photon noise.The peak responsivity is a more common parameter used to compare detectors of different wavelength. The peak responsivity of QDIP is usually measured with a blackbody source and is given by: ( ) k is given by: ∫ Where IPhoto is measured QDIP current. The QDIP device ultimate performance is often limited by its dark current noise and photon noise. The contribution of Johnson noise is usually small in a QDIP device. The physical mechanism of 1/f is still not fully understood and it is related to the contact quality. DA is the blackbody aperture diameter. For QDIP with good Ohmic contact. 3. dark current noise. Ad is the detector area. The noise current should be expressed by the standard G-R noise form .
dark=i n.B.Where gnoise is the noise gain and Idark is the device dark current. The photon noise in a QDIP is related to the background radiation because it is caused by the fluctuation in the number of background photons absorbed by QDIP (ηΦ). The total noise of a QDIP is √ For a given QWIP and application. . and in is the noise current. the noise gain equals the photoconductive gain. Photon noise is given by: where g is the photoconductive gain. The background limited infrared performance (BLIP) is defined as the regime where the dominant noise source is due to the background photon fluctuations (larger than dark current noise).1. The BLIP temperature (TBLIP) is the temperature at which in. Δf is the bandwidth. R is the responsivity. 3.6 Specific detectivity The specific detectivity (now normally just called detectivity) is defined as: √ Where A is the detector area. the background photon flux is often fixed. In a conventional photoconductor. at least as a very good approximation for the practical purpose.
8 kT) and QW (0. which is less than half that in the bulk structure. The energy distribution of electrons becomes 0. the maximum optical gain increases with decreasing dimensionality due to the concentration of the oscillator strength in energy. such as InAs/GaAs.3. This means that electrons in those structures are distributed in certain discrete energy levels and the energy distribution width is fundamentally independent of temperature. due to many interaction processes such as electron-electron and electron-phonon scattering (which can also be reduced by QDs. These materials are polar as the different electronegativities of the constituent atoms lead to a degree of ionicity in the chemical bonds. as will explained later). the majority of interest lies with the heterostructure made from compound semiconductors. whatever the dimensionality. certain width in the electron energy distribution exists. often referred to as the LO phonon. For most practical quantum dot applications. distributing the total oscillator strength according .2.8 kT. In real semiconductor structures. the energy distribution of electron has a width of about 1. etc.7 kT). This reduction enables a concentration of electrons into a narrower energy distribution. InGaAs/InGaP. 3. In QDs.2 High responsivity Since the phonons themselves inside crystal represent the motion of atoms which are centers of electric charges.7 kT. In the bulk structure.2 Improvements of Characteristics in QDIP 3.2. In first order.1 High temperature operation Most of the expected improvement in QDIP device performance originates from the change in the density of states. For example. In QWs. but occupied states usually cover a range of some kBT. at the band edge the density of states becomes constant and independent of energy. it should be noted that as the energy distribution width is linearly proportional to the ambient temperature. QW and QD are show in Figure 3. In such materials. such a kmatched pair has the same strength. the width of the electron energy distribution is zero in an ideal case.2. under the low carrier density limit condition where electrons obey Boltzmann’s distribution. basic device performance is fundamentally dependent on temperature. the dominant electronphonon interaction (scattering) is with the longitudinal optic photons. However are expected much smaller compared to bulk (1. However. the energy distribution of electrons in bulk. as the density of states is proportional to the square root of electron energy. they also represent time-dependent perturbations of the crystal potential and can therefore scatter charge carriers. For a given band a given number of electron-hole pairs in their ground states. where electrons are the density of states is like a staircase.
if we assume the quantum well growth direction is along the zaxis. electrons “meet” holes both in real and k space. m.F1=F1(x. Then. y. If denote n. 3. Elastic collisions very quickly randomize k directions. however. ⃗⃗ is the polarization vector for the incident infrared light. -wire. The enhancement of carrier recapture lifetime leads to a dramatic increase in responsivity for quantum dot (QD) devices. then the envelope functions should depend on z only.0). carriers first have to cascade down to the ground state through kunmatched excited states. chiefly due to the scarcity of final states satisfying both energy and momentum conservation. x) quantum numbers of a quantum-well. It is even more so for extreme quantization (~15 nm) when the average energy level spacing exceeds the energy of LO phonons.εy. . Therefore. Down to 0D. with F1=F1(z) and F2=F2(z). wires.y. or boxes.m. 32 Measurements have shown that carrier recapture time in quantum dot lasers are significantly longer than those measured for quantum wells. and increasingly concentrate the oscillator strength in a narrow line. or –box system in the infinite-square-well approximation. the oscillations of the electromagnetic field induced by this radiation are almost homogeneous over the area of the quantum dot.2. it’s obvious that the normal incident light results in non-zero absorption. Energy is lost first through LO phonon emission and next through acoustic phonons still in the sub nanosecond range due to the 2D continuum of final states. It is seen readily that for normal incidence of infrared radiation. In the case of quantum well.z) and F2=F2(x. l as the standard (z. The reduced electron-LO phonon interaction results in much longer carrier recapture time inside quantum dot energy states than that in quantum well (This phenomenon is called “phonon bottleneck”). the interaction between the electron and electromagnetic wave can be written in the dipole approximation and the oscillator strength is given by: |⟨ | ⃗ ⃗| ⟩| where F1 and F2 are the electron envelope functions. ⃗⃗⃗⃗ the momentum operator. or 3 directions for quantum wells. For quantum dots.3 Normal incidence detection Since the wavelength of light corresponding the energy of single-particle excitations of a quantum dot is much larger than the dot size (<1 μm). Quantized degrees of freedom allow k matching of the electron and hole states in the 1. for which ε=(εx. In typical 3D and 2D systems. Normal incident light absorption is one of major advantages of QDIPs compared with QWIPs. the usual Δk=0 selection rule of optical transitions become Δn.to the density of states. However. relaxation rates vanish. 2. results in zero absorption.z). respectively.y. The predicted carrier capture time is in the nanosecond range.l=0.
For this reason. most of the research to date has been on the vertical transport QDIPs. since the QDs in QDIP are mostly grown by self-assembly method. Lateral transport QDIPs with a modulation-doped heterostructure have demonstrated lower dark current and operation near room temperature as a result of the fact that primary components of the dark current originate from interdot tunneling and hopping conduction. high strain builds up with the increase of number of the QD layers. In the lateral devices. However. photocurrent moves through a high-mobility channel. This limit may be lifted or even totally removed by techniques such as strain balance. either the QD wetting layers or the QW layers in the dot-in-well structure. the vertical transport structure is compatible with the focal plane arrays architecture. One is the conventional vertical transport scheme. Both structures allow normal incidence detection. a QDIP structure usually requires multilayer QDs. depending on the transport direction of the photo current. The other is the lateral transport scheme.In order to have a meaningful absorption length. However. in which the photocurrent moves along the growth direction. Two types of devices structures can be used for QDIPs. . it’s desirable to have a large number of high density QD layers to allow maximum photon interaction. in which the photocurrent moves parallel to the growth planes. This strain sets a limit of the number of QD layers. Like in QWIP. beyond which a high density of structural defects will occur.