Indexed on: 27 May '09Published on: 27 May '09Published in: Journal of Electronic Materials
We evaluated the performance of long-wavelength infrared (LWIR, λc = 9.0 μm at 80 K) mercury cadmium telluride electron-injected avalanche photodiodes (e-APDs) in terms of gain, excess noise factor, and dark current, and also spectral and spatial response at zero bias. We found an exponential gain curve up to 23 at 100 K and a low excess noise factor close to unity (F = 1–1.25). These properties are indicative of a single carrier multiplication process, which is electron impact ionization. The dark current is prevailed by a diffusion current at low reverse bias. However, tunneling currents at higher reverse bias limited the usable gain. The measurements of the pixel spatial response showed that the collection width, and, especially, the amplitude of the response peak, increased with temperature. Furthermore, we developed a Monte Carlo model to understand the multiplication process in HgCdTe APDs. The first simulation results corroborated experimental measurements of gain and excess noise factor in mid-wavelength infrared (MWIR, x = 0.3) and LWIR (x = 0.235) e-APDs at 80 K. This model makes it possible for phenomenological studies to be performed to identify the main physical effects and technological parameters that influence the gain and excess noise. The study of the effect of the n−-layer thickness on APD performance demonstrated the existence of an optimum value in terms of gain.