1/f noise in large-area Hg1−xCdxTe photodiodes

Research paper by A. I. D’Souza, M. G. Stapelbroek, P. N. Dolan, P. S. Wijewarnasuriya, R. E. DeWames, D. S. Smith, J. C. Ehlert

Indexed on: 01 Jul '03Published on: 01 Jul '03Published in: Journal of Electronic Materials


The 1/f noise in photovoltaic (PV) molecular-beam epitaxy (MBE)-grown Hg1−xCdxTe double-layer planar heterostructure (DLPH) large-area detectors is a critical noise component with the potential to limit sensitivity of the cross-track infrared sounder (CrIS) instrument. Therefore, an understanding of the origins and mechanisms of noise currents in these PV detectors is of great importance. Excess low-frequency noise has been measured on a number of 1000-µm-diameter active-area detectors of varying “quality” (i.e., having a wide range of I-V characteristics at 78 K). The 1/f noise was measured as a function of cut-off wavelength under illuminated conditions. For short-wave infrared (SWIR) detectors at 98 K, minimal 1/f noise was measured when the total current was dominated by diffusion with white noise spectral density in the mid-10−15A/Hz1/2 range. For SWIR detectors dominated by other than diffusion current, the ratio, α, of the noise current in unit bandwidth in(f = 1 Hz, Vd = −60 mV, and Δf = 1 Hz) to dark current Id(Vd = −60 mV) was αSW-d = in/Id ∼ 1 × 10−3. The SWIR detectors measured at 0 mV under illuminated conditions had median αSW-P = in/Iph ∼ 7 × 10−6. For mid-wave infrared (MWIR) detectors, αMW-d = in/Id ∼ 2 × 10−4, due to tunneling current contributions to the 1/f noise. Measurements on forty-nine 1000-µm-diameter MWIR detectors under illuminated conditions at 98 K and −60 mV bias resulted in αMW-P = in/Iph = 4.16 ± 1.69 × 10−6. A significant point to note is that the photo-induced noise spectra are nearly identical at 0 mV and 100 mV reverse bias, with a noise-current-to-photocurrent ratio, αMW-P, in the mid 10−6 range. For long-wave infrared (LWIR) detectors measured at 78 K, the ratio, αLW-d = in/Id ∼ 6 × 10−6, for the best performers. The majority of the LWIR detectors exhibited αLW-d on the order of 2 × 10−5. The photo-induced 1/f noise had αLW-P = in/Iph ∼ 5 × 10−6. The value of the noise-current-to-dark-current ratio, α appears to increase with increasing bandgap. It is not clear if this is due to different current mechanisms impacting 1/f noise performance. Measurements on detectors of different bandgaps are needed at temperatures where diffusion current is the dominant current. Excess low-frequency noise measurements made as a function of detector reverse bias indicate 1/f noise may result primarily from the dominant current mechanism at each particular bias. The 1/f noise was not a direct function of the applied bias.