The opportunity of using InGaAsN/AlGaAs quantum wells for extended short-wavelength infrared photodetection

Asaf Albo, Dan Fekete, Gad Bahir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We propose and demonstrate a novel concept to address high-performance, extended short wavelength (e-SWIR) photodetectors. Our approach is based on shifting the well-developed GaAs quantum-well infrared photodetector (QWIP) technology to e-SWIR wavelengths. In order to increase the available conduction band offsets (CBOs), we suggest incorporating nitrogen (N) atoms into the quantum well material. The incorporation of N atoms into III-Vs results in dilute-nitride highly mismatched alloys with lower bandgaps and higher CBOs. In our work, we demonstrate CBO values reaching up to ∼1 eV in InGaAsN/AlGaAs QWIPs. This large CBO makes these structures suitable for e-SWIR detection. The large CBO reduces the dark current dramatically and allows efficient detection at room temperature. In our study, we devised two similar InGaAsN/AlGaAs QWIP devices with twofold, 1% and 2% N composition. Based on the measured dark current data, we extracted activation energy barriers of 780 meV and 580 meV for the 1% and 2% N devices, respectively. The dark current and photocurrent spectral response behave in correlation to the change in the barriers’ height. The photocurrent response of the 1% N device peaks at ∼2.25 μm and spans at a spectral range between 1.3 and 2.95 μm. The photocurrent response of the 2% N device is blue shifted to ∼1.42 μm and spans at a spectral range between 1.1 and 2.2 μm. The 2% N device exhibits lower dark currents and a strong photoresponse at room temperature, whereas the 1% N device exhibits a clear response only at temperatures below 150 K. The detection mechanism in the InGaAsN/AlGaAs QWIP devices is based on optical excitation of carriers from the quantum wells into highly-localized nitrogen-related E+ defect-like states located energetically above the conduction band edge. For this reason, the photoresponse is insensitive to the radiation polarization and exhibits low absorption efficiency on the order of 0.15% per quantum well. However, at the same time, the responsivity and photocurrent gain are very high due to the long lifetime of the highly localized excited states. The peak responsivity of the 2% N device is ∼70 A/W at room temperature. Significant responsivity is also available at the response tail at longer wavelengths, i.e., ∼15 and 1 A/W for 1.65 μm—the peak wavelength of the night glow emission and 2 μm—at the e-SWIR wavelengths, respectively. Corresponding detectivity values are ∼1010 and ∼5 × 108 cm·Hz1/2/W at 1.65 μm and 2.0 μm, respectively. These values are similar to those of other developing technologies. In-reach potential detectivity is estimated based on the measured data and can arrive easily to values as high as ∼2 × 1012 and ∼1 × 1011 cm·Hz1/2/W for ∼1.65 μm and 2.0 μm, respectively. The presented characteristics and potential performance indicate that InGaAsN/AlGaAs quantum wells are most suitable for efficient e-SWIR photodetection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-76
Number of pages9
JournalInfrared Physics and Technology
StatePublished - Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier B.V.


The authors would like to acknowledge the generosity of Bar-Ilan University for their Starting Grant for New Faculty Members and for the Bar-Ilan Engineering Faculty Fellowship. The authors would also like to acknowledge the Russell-Berrie Nanotechnology Institute of the Technion for their Grant no. 2009101 .

FundersFunder number
Bar-Ilan University


    • Defects in semiconductors
    • Dilute nitrides
    • New device concepts
    • Novel materials
    • Photodetectors
    • Quantum wells
    • e-SWIR


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