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Swept away [quantum-well infrared photodetectors]

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9 Author(s)
Liu, H.C. ; Nat. Res. Council Inst. for Microstructural Sci., Ottawa, Ont., Canada ; Dudek, R. ; Oogarah, T. ; Grant, P.D.
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The ultra high-speed capability of quantum-well infrared photodetectors (QWIPs) is well known, thanks to their intrinsic short carrier lifetime (∼5 ps). This obviously makes QWIPs well suited for high-speed and high-frequency applications. In the past, for thermal infrared imaging where devices are optimized to have the highest possible detectivity, the absorption quantum efficiency has been low (<10%). For high-speed applications where lasers are usually used, the most important parameter is the absorption efficiency. We show that high absorption (∼100%) can be easily achieved by simply changing some of the device parameters. We also review the experimental demonstrations of the high-speed capability. At present, QWIPs hold the unique position of having high-speed/-frequency capability and high absorption for the thermal infrared region. There are no competitive alternatives.

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Circuits and Devices Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:19 ,  Issue: 6 )