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HgCdTe Photoconductive Mixers for 2-8 THzHeterodyne spectroscopy has been taken to wavelengths as short as 63 micrometers with Schottky-diode mixers. Schottkys, however, are relatively insensitive compared to superconducting mixers such as the hot-electron microbolometer (HEB), which has an effective quantum efficiency of 3% at 120 micrometers (2.5 THz). Although HEB sensitivities are bound to improve, there will always be losses associated with antenna coupling of radiation into sub-micron size devices. Another approach to far infrared (FIR) mixer design is to use a photoconductive device which can be made much larger than a wavelength, and thus act as its own antenna. For example, HgCdTe photodiodes have been used as mixers in the lambda = 10 micrometers band for over 25 years, with sensitivities now only a factor of 2 from the quantum-noise-limit. HgCdTe can also be applied at FIR wavelengths, but surprisingly little work has been done to date. The exception is the pioneering work of Spears and Kostiuk and Spears, who developed HgCdTe photomixers for the 20-120 micrometer region. The spectral versatility of the HgCdTe alloy is well recognized for wavelengths as long as 8-20 micrometers. What is not so recognized, however, is that theoretically there is no long wavelength limit for appropriately composited HgCdTe. Although Spears successfully demonstrated a photoconductive response from HgCdTe at 120 micrometers, this initial effort was apparently never followed up, in part because of the difficulty of controlling the HgCdTe alloy composition with liquid-phase-epitaxy (LPE) techniques. With the availability of precise molecular-beam-epitaxy (MBE) since the early 1990's, it is now appropriate to reconsider HgCdTe for detector applications longward of lambda = 20 micrometers. We recently initiated an effort to fabricate detectors and mixers using II-VI materials for FIR wavelengths. Of particular interest are device structures called superlattices, which offer a number of advantages for high sensitivity direct detectors and very long wavelength heterodyne mixers.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Betz, A. L.
(Colorado Univ. Boulder, CO United States)
Boreiko, R. T.
(Colorado Univ. Boulder, CO United States)
Sivananthan, S.
(Illinois Univ. Chicago, IL United States)
Ashokan, R.
(Illinois Univ. Chicago, IL United States)
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
December 1, 2001
Publication Information
Publication: Proceedings of the Twelfth International Symposium on Space Terahertz Technology
Subject Category
Electronics And Electrical Engineering
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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