Nature Allows High Sensitivity Thermal Imaging With Type-I Quantum Wells Without Optical Couplers: A Grating-Free Quantum Well Infrared Photodetector With High Conversion Efficiency


IEEE JOURNAL OF QUANTUM ELECTRONICS, vol.57, no.2, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 57 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1109/jqe.2021.3052188
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Aerospace Database, Applied Science & Technology Source, Business Source Elite, Business Source Premier, Chemical Abstracts Core, Communication Abstracts, Compendex, Computer & Applied Sciences, INSPEC, Metadex, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Keywords: Quantum well infrared photodetector, thermal imaging
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Quantum well infrared photodetectors (QWIPs) have facilitated thermal imagers with excellent pixel operability, uniformity and stability. The main disadvantage of the standard QWIP technology is the low conversion efficiency (CE) as a result of weak quantum efficiency (QE) and photoconductive gain inhibiting the utilization of the sensor for low background and/or high frame rate applications. The other problem is the requirement of an optical grating which loses its efficiency with decreasing pixel pitch, as well as limiting the performance of dual-band focal plane array (FPA) due to the wavelength dependence of the diffraction-grating coupling efficiency. The author reports a grating-free 15 mu m pixel pitch 640 x 512 mid-wavelength infrared (MWIR) QWIP FPA constructed with the InP/GaInP/In0.83Ga0.17 As material system with normal incident radiation absorption ability. The pixels yielded peak QE, CE and specific detectivity of 23%, similar to 40% and 1 x 10(11) cmHz(1/2)/W (at similar to 80 K with f/2 optics) in spite of the absence of diffraction grating, substantially high cut-off wavelength (5.8 mu m) and broad spectral response (Delta lambda/lambda(p) = 31%). Together with excellent (uncorrected) responsivity and noise equivalent temperature difference nonuniformities of 5.9% and 17%, the results illustrate tremendous improvement over the performance of the conventional MWIR QWIP FPA exhibiting great potential to revive the QWIP technology especially in dual-band imaging.