Low-noise high-temperature AlInAsSb/GaSb avalanche photodiodes for 2-μm applications


Sensitive photodetectors that operate at a wavelength of 2 μm are required for applications in sensing and imaging but state-of-the-art devices are severely limited by high dark current density (Jdark). The narrow-bandgap materials required for mid-infrared (2–5 µm) detection are plagued by carrier recombination and band-to-band tunnelling; as a result, detectors must be operated at cryogenic temperatures. HgCdTe is currently the most commonly used materials system for these applications and has achieved Jdark = 3 × 10−4 A cm2 at a gain of 10 while operating at 125 K. Here, we report the details and results for avalanche photodiodes for 2-μm detection based on a separate absorption, charge, and multiplication design in the AlxIn1–xAsySb1–y materials system. We achieve comparable Jdark between 200–220 K and demonstrate very low excess noise (k ≈ 0.01) and gain >100 at room temperature. Such avalanche photodiodes could prove useful for receivers for eye-safe light imaging, detection and ranging.

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Fig. 1: SACM APD designs.
Fig. 2: Capacitance–voltage and EQE.
Fig. 3: Current–voltage and gain.
Fig. 4: Excess noise.
Fig. 5: Dark current density.
Fig. 6: ΔVbdT.

Data availability

The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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This work was supported by the Army Research Office (contract no. W911NF-17-1-0065) and DARPA (contract no. GG11972.153060). We acknowledge use of Texas Nanofabrication Facilities supported by the NSF NNCI Award 1542159.

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S.D.M. and S.R.B. carried out crystal growth and material characterization. A.H.J. and J.C.C. were responsible for device design, fabrication and experimental characterization. Analysis and simulations were performed by A.H.J. and S.D.M. A.H.J. and S.D.M. wrote the paper with input from S.R.B. and J.C.C.

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Correspondence to Joe C. Campbell.

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Jones, A.H., March, S.D., Bank, S.R. et al. Low-noise high-temperature AlInAsSb/GaSb avalanche photodiodes for 2-μm applications. Nat. Photonics (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41566-020-0637-6

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