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Recent Developments in Quantum-Well Infrared PhotodetectorsIntrinsic infrared (IR) detectors in the long wavelength range (8-20 Am) are based on an optically excited interband transition, which promotes an electron across the band gap (E(sub g)) from the valence band to the conduction band as shown. These photoelectrons can be collected efficiently, thereby producing a photocurrent in the external circuit. Since the incoming photon has to promote an electron from the valence band to the conduction band, the energy of the photon (h(sub upsilon)) must be higher than the E(sub g) of the photosensitive material. Therefore, the spectral response of the detectors can be controlled by controlling the E(sub g) of the photosensitive material. Examples for such materials are Hg(1-x), Cd(x), Te, and Pb(1-x), Sn(x), Te, in which the energy gap can be controlled by varying x. This means detection of very-long-wavelength IR radiation up to 20 microns requires small band gaps down to 62 meV. It is well known that these low band gap materials, characterized by weak bonding and low melting points, are more difficult to grow and process than large-band gap semiconductors such as GaAs. These difficulties motivate the exploration of utilizing the intersub-band transitions in multiquantum well (MQW) structures made of more refractory large-band gap semiconductors. The idea of using MQW structures to detect IR radiation can be explained by using the basic principles of quantum mechanics. The quantum well is equivalent to the well-known particle in a box problem in quantum mechanics, which can be solved by the time independent Schroudiner equation.
Document ID
19990008344
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Authors
Gunapala, S. D. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA United States)
Bandara, K. M. S. V. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA United States)
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1995
Publication Information
Publication: Thin Films
Volume: 21
Subject Category
Optics
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Other